Don’t underestimate the importance of perception, because it’s one of our prime faculties. We all possess it, although many of us don’t recognize it, even though we use it all the time. It’s one of our natural traits which enables us to become aware by hearing, seeing or feeling.
Perception is linked to our nervous system and is the recognition of different things through using our senses. A report from the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience explains understanding human perception. It’s normally better when we see or hear what we’re perceiving, because we can interpret it as fact. It’s limited though, if we can’t see or hear it properly. Then, feeling comes into play, touching (to feel it) can give us ultimate proof of our perception.
The funny thing is, that although perception offers us proof of reality, each of us might see it differently. Yes, one person can perceive reality in a completely different way than someone else does. Is one or the other correct, or both of them?
Is Perception Reality?
I would say that perception can be reality, but isn’t necessarily. It’s more likely made up of how we interpret what we see, and it’s also influenced by our beliefs, memory and thoughts. As an example, if a number of people witness a robbery, when they recall their version of it to the police, each may differ. The robbery is a reality, but how each individual saw it happen, and the description of the robber can vary a lot. Each person perceived the robbery differently.
Look at the picture below. What do you see? You’ve probably seen it before, and depending how you look at it, you might see a young or an old lady. The drawing is a reality, with the lines drawn, seen the same by everyone. It’s how our mind perceives what the picture is, that make it appear one or the other. For most people, what you see when you first look at it, makes it slightly more difficult to see it as the other image. This is because to do so, you need to change your perception of what it is.
It seems to me that when something exists, it is a reality, but it can seem different from person to person. When something appears different from one person to another, each has their own perspective, but one person may have seen something another didn’t. If this is pointed out, then a perspective can change, along with the perception. This means that perception isn’t fixed, it can change and so can the perceived reality.
Understanding the Importance of Perception
If it’s the case that we can get our perception of reality wrong, what might that say about the way we see ourselves? We are the product of our upbringing, outside influences and many other factors. These can make us perceive our own reality as something different from what it actually is. Do you believe in yourself? Most people don’t, because what they’ve come to believe, is what they’ve been taught. Our insecurities and fears don’t originate from us, but we perceive them to be us.
How we see our self is how we think others see us too, but that’s not necessarily so. We tend to present our self to others in the way we see our self. If it’s a positive view, that’s great, but more often than not, it isn’t. Our words, mannerisms and the way we project our self, influences how others see us. In other words, we cause them to form a perception of us, and the sad part is, that we have often got it wrong.
What if we could see our self from another person’s perception of us? Would we see our self differently? Yes, I think we would, we may see a differently perceived reality. We’d see what they see, from how we speak and project our self, but we might also see a different version of what we believe is our reality. If a person lacks confidence, they may expect rejection from others, even though there isn’t any. Because it’s what they expect, it’s what they hear and ultimately, receive.
Change Your View
In order to change, you’ll need to change your self-perception. If you have a problem you’re struggling with, you’ll need to change your perception of it. In both cases, is it possible to sit on the other side of the table and look at what you can see from there? What I’m talking about is the old, is the glass half empty or half full situation. How do you see it? Can you see it differently, like the picture above of my wife, my mother-in-law? Difficult as it may be, try imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes looking at you or the problem you’re having.
Try to take a different view and you may be surprised at what you see. When I worked as a senior manager in a company a few years ago, I got on well with my staff but didn’t really consider their perception of me. On one occasion, I had to correct someone who’d made a mistake. I did it in what I thought was a jokey but firm way. Afterwards, a colleague told me that the person I’d corrected had been devastated and was a little frightened of me.
That devastated me, because it wasn’t my intention. It made me realize the person’s perception of me wasn’t of me as me, as I’d assumed, but me as their boss. I saw myself from a different perception and it made me change the way I projected myself as a manager. Seeing myself from “the other side of the table” was an eye-opener for me. As a result, in every situation I now try to consider other perceptions.
You’re in Control
Accept reality for what it is, but realize others might see it differently and they can be right too. If you’re able to take another person’s perspective, you’ll most likely see the situation or whatever it is, in a completely different way. It doesn’t mean you have to change your view, but seeing another will open up a different perspective to consider.
If you do this, it may lead to you changing how you see or feel about things. This can lead to shifts in beliefs and behaviors. These changes result in you sending out different vibrations and these will be picked up by others, leading to a change in your world. The importance of perception can’t be expressed enough, because when we choose to see things differently, nothing is fixed, we can make it better!