This article is inspired by an individual who I greatly admired… and I greatly despised at the same time.
You can say that the relationship was an unhealthy one. I took interest in what she had to say because, to be honest, she had some great ideas. But like everyone in this world, she also had some really bad ideas that kind of tainted her image as a leader.
One of the many things that we disagreed on was people’s perception. Her viewpoint was that people’s perceptions were in fact reality. My stance was “Well to who exactly? The one that perceives, or the person next to her?” What this person who I admired failed to understand is that everyone’s perception is completely different. It’s what I really like most about our species. They think differently from each other, and yet somehow are able to still connect to one another on a deep level.
We can see an example in recent events where injustice has reached recognition worldwide, and has in fact connected millions of people to stand united against a cause. In this case, the mass majority of individual's perception of injustice was similar and therefore created a movement across the world.
Why is perception real to one and not to others?
Perception may vary from person to person for several different reasons. For one, we are each physically different from one another. We each think differently from one another as well. Our thoughts are mostly made up of our past experiences. Chemically, we are different. We may have been conceived from our parents, however, after a certain age, we begin to form our own opinions and values.
Our perception may be altered due to world changes and events in which we are exposed to. Some experiences leave us with a better perception of oneself or others. There are other experiences which darken our views of the world. In today’s words, this would be viewed as being “woken” from what we previously thought was true.
It would be crazy of me not to mention cultural differences here. Culture has a huge hand in how we view behaviors of our peers. While it is culturally acceptable to look each other in the eye when we talk to one another, in another country, this may be viewed as impolite or even offensive. Culture guides a lot of what a person passes on to their children to be valued. Such as Christmas traditions, or how we raise women. We learn what favored behavior and ideals are from our community and government.
Lastly, our circle of friends (otherwise known as our circle of influence) has an important impact on how we perceive each other and situations. Our circle guides values and ideas. Which in turn inspire group mentality and then we all get sucked in the general consensus. Do we like that? Why? Groups of people with like minds always attract each other. However, at some point we relinquish some of our individual ability to think and the group takes a mind of its own. Usually, it's the leader’s thought process that guides each circle. If not careful, these ideals may lead us to behave in ways we later regret, like going out drinking all night, or spending all of your money on some random item you didn’t even want.
How can we widen our perception?
Perception can be changed and can be altered by many ways.
Understand that perception can always be changed and can only be yours. People who wish to change your perception ultimately are saying that they don’t value your individual perception. They are wishing that you were more like them so they expose you to why their values and ideas are better than yours. To stand strong and be truly self reliant, we must recognize when we are getting sucked into the mass thought process.
This is NOT to say that we ourselves cannot recognize when we need to change how we think. Only through self reflection and surrounding ourselves with individuals who we trust, can we make some valuable changes to our thought process.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.