Saturday, June 16, 2012

Perception is NOT Reality

What is Real?

Faulty Perceptions Create a World of Lies

"Perception is reality," this overused phrase is a blatant lie. The way we see ourselves, our bodies, situations, and the world around us is skewed by our own biases and insecurities. Basically the way we view life is simply not real. I am thinking about this concept because of how I am feeling in my body at the moment. Last night I went to dinner with my parents and had fabulous tasting pasta dishes (cream based sauces, bolognese...basically I went all out!) I hadn't had pasta or red meat in months and it was so yummy! After dinner I was having a sweet tooth so my Mom and I went to Dairy Queen and I had a  Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard- so delicious! I was really craving it and nothing feels better than satisfying a food craving! But of course this morning I woke up feeling terrible because my body image was absolutely horrendous...even though I truly enjoyed everything I ate it didn't stop my negative thoughts today. I perceived myself as significantly larger than I was yesterday before indulging. But when I got dressed this morning my clothes still fit. Plus rationally I know it's just not plausible that I would've gained any real or significant weight over night after one evening of food that is higher in calories than what I typically eat. Even though I know all this rationally it didn't outweigh my feelings- my perception was influencing how I saw myself. My view of myself was incorrect it was not real. My personal insecurities and medical diagnosis heavily impact my perception altering my ability to clearly see what I truly look like. We all have experience or thoughts that affect the way we perceive a variety of things. This notion directly relates to the quote I chose for this post.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” 

- C.S. Lewis

Two different people who hear the same statement or witness one event can easily step away and reflect two completely different views. No two people will perceive something identically which is often the cause for many disagreements. But this varying perceptions cause everyone to see the world very differently. When we look in the mirror we see our flaws, usually things we are insecure about, but generally no one else will see these things when they look at us. For example if I have a pimple on my face when I look at my see reflection the pimple is all I will see. But I could be talking with a friend for hours, feeling super insecure about this huge pimple on my face, and they won't even notice it until I point it out to them. Our personal perceptions cause us to be more judgmental of ourselves than anyone else. Whether it's about our appearance, our intellect, a piece of school work, or an outfit we've put together we are our worst critics and consequently our own worst enemies as well.  It would serve us all well to keep in mind what Lewis is saying in his quote. The way we see ourselves and the world is directly effected by where we are in our lives, past experiences, and inborn insecurities or biases. Life would be easier and I am thinking that we would be much happier if we remembered that most of what we believe we see and hear is simply not reality. I guess maybe this could have some negative results like constantly second guessing ourselves or perhaps even thinking we're going crazy part of the time but it is the truth. None of us are able to absorb anything exactly as it is because I perceptions alter it as soon as it enters our brain. Knowing this can maybe help us to not be so hard on ourselves and others around us also. Next time I look in the mirror or read a paper I have written and begin to pinpoint all the flaws or errors I am going to try and stop, remember that everything I see has been twisted my personal perception, and give myself the benefit of the doubt- none of these flaws are as overt or extreme as I think them to be. Try doing this yourself- maybe we'll be able to transform from our own worst enemies to our own best friends...or maybe at least cordial acquaintances.

Question yourself today in an effort to distinguish the truth from the lies,

Our eyes are kind of like fun house mirrors sometimes-

Reflection, Christina Aguilera

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