Let’s talk a little bit about perception, something that has been coming up in my life frequently.
Perception is the way we interpret people, places and things in our lives. Your understanding of reality is uniquely yours. All humans have different perspectives and lenses through which they view the world. These lenses change as we age, learn, and go through life experiences.
Your reality is your interpretation of what happens to you and how you respond to it. Your reality is different than your coworkers, friends, family and peers. No one will ever see things 100% the way you do. Ever.
Two people can interpret a situation very differently: they bring with them their life experiences, judgments, and personal biases. This is why at crime scenes police interview multiple people for a more accurate account of what happened. People view the world through different lenses, so they see and recall different things. An incident could happen to two different people and for one the event could be earth-shattering while the other could interpret it as mundane. We are all different and we are all wearing different “glasses.”
Frequently we get offended when people don’t see things our way or when they can’t understand our feelings. Most of the time other people have no idea what is going on in your head or how their actions might be affecting you. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because your interpretations of the situation are out of their line of sight. People have limited energy and frequently they will make sure their needs are met before they address any insecurities or issues you may be having. They are working with what is in their field of vision, and sometimes that isn’t you; even if they care about you.
It’s so easy to make assumptions and think that other people know what is going on for you…but they really don’t. As a therapist and in my personal life, I see people suffering because of this issue. We create pain where there was none because we did not think about what lense the person was interpreting the situation though. Other people don’t mean to hurt you, they are doing what they think is best or easiest at any given time. Often times that is not with an awareness of your needs.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself in challenging situations so you can avoid self-inflicted emotional pain:
- Is there something going on in their life that I might not be aware of that is impacting their current lense?
- Is this person doing their best?
- Even if I feel that my pain is justified, do I need to hold on to it?
- Do I need to communicate the hurt to others or is it something I can address on my own?
- How might I meet my own needs?
Sometimes it is helpful to take off your glasses and allow yourself some time to just be. Try not to overanalyze things so much and take a breath. The way you feel will not last forever. This situation will not last forever. People will make mistakes and they might cause you some pain. However, you can always put on a different pair of glasses and maybe learn something from this experience.
The same day, same place, two different sets of eyes with their own glasses on.
He was probably thinking about proposing the next day and I was just enjoying the sun. 🙂
It’s helpful and ok for us all to be different and see things differently.
I’ll be back next Tuesday, have a great week!