“Some things are only real if you believe in them” Unknown Please follow the story
If you are perceived to be something, you might as well be it because that’s the truth in people’s minds.
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” — Aldous Huxley
Years ago, I used to have a friend at the workplace that I considered troubled, opinionated and inherently toxic. I haven’t been in touch with this friend for many years and this isn’t quite surprising. We didn’t share the same perceptive about almost anything and I soon realized that her reality was based on perceptions that was badly flawed.
She believed every email she received had an inherent motive and when she responded, it was based on past experiences with the sender. It is important to note that past experiences greatly influence how we decode things. She was always on the verge of a dispute or creating one. She was never short of drama and had a lot of conflict situations with other colleagues daily. It seemed like she thrived on creating disputes. Ironically, she was a high performer!
Have you met someone like her?
Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things. Think of perception using the popular illustration of those who view a glass of water as half-full, and those who see the same glass as half-empty.
Author Gregory Berns states in Iconoclast, “Perception is the brain’s way of interpreting ambiguous visual signals in the most likely explanation possible. These explanations are a direct result of past experience.”
In short, perception equates to the sum of your past conditioning.
The totality of your perceptions— regarding yourself, your life, life in general, others, and so on—creates and impacts your personal reality and ultimately your experience of life. In essence, perceptions profoundly impact how you experience life.
The quality of life you’d enjoy is therefore in your hands!
Just like my old friend, if you constantly perceive people (your boss, colleagues, friends etc.) as always being against you, you will most likely react in a defensive, combative, negatively reactive, and victim-like way. This way of perceiving people will most certainly lead to experiencing intense levels of unhappiness and cause you to be unsettled and miserable in the end.
To maintain a healthy relationship at work or personal life you must question your perception about the things that happen to you. It’s only then that you can begin to see people, events, things, and even yourself from a more neutral or positive perspective.
One of the biggest hinderance to seeing things in a positive and neutral perspective is our belief cycle. My several coaching sessions with young employees have reinforced the potency of the belief cycle and how behaviors, habits and emotions keep an individual stuck in his own head.
Let me take a few seconds to elucidate further.
When an individual holds up a strong belief about a subject, it influences their thoughts about the subjects which then triggers emotions when such issues occur. These strong emotions then create a reaction or better termed, behavior which over time becomes a habit that then creates a situation that will reinforce the belief.
Breaking the belief cycle will take more than just a 45minutes of chit chat! But it features mostly at the center of the lens with which the reality is viewed.
May I add that many conflict situations at the workplace and in our personal life, are created due to different perspective about the situation and opposing interests.
Whenever you feel triggered by someone, something, or some situation, experts’ advice that you “hit the pause” button and take a moment to breathe and ground yourself into the present moment so you can choose how to respond from a more empowered place.
Respond not react!
Most times when we take a moment to understand the other party’s perspective and view, we will understand why they act the way they do and respond appropriately. Reacting to everything that life throws at us will often lead to aggravating the situation or ruining relationships.
For this to happen, having the desire to see things differently is a vital component. It is a conscious and intentional step to withhold judgement until you can see all the sides or get more information. It is also possible that one may not be able to see the different perspectives because we are blinded by our feelings or emotions. Sometimes you can be so accustomed to perceiving things a certain way that sometimes it’s difficult to see our blind spots.
In this case you can enlist the support of a trusted friend or family member or a professional such as a psychologist, to talk to someone who can help you see things from a different perspective that you might not have thought of before.
Everything begins with a decision – decide now to be in charge of your own perception of reality. Because if you don’t, there are plenty of folks whose sole purpose in life is to craft that perception for you. And they won’t have your best interest at heart!
It’s therefore important to be conscious of your perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create it for you.
When a situation arises which, you are unfamiliar with, rather than add a narrative to it, consider the following viewpoint instead:
“What else could be going on underneath the surface which I’m unaware of?”
Assuredly, something is always festering behind the scenes which we are unaware of. If you are quick to cast aspersions, you limit your experience of reality. Our judgements impair our perception because seldom do we have a detailed picture of a situation until we dig deeper.
Please take note of this powerful quote by Douglas Adams;
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams
Be wise, choose the right perspective!
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