Which side of perception is reality?


So if we have our own ideas on how we think people see us, and various people around us
have their own perceptions of ourselves, and then we have our own ideas on who we really are……which part of that is reality? What exactly is reality and how does that define who we are? Do we care and if so why?

We’ve all heard those saying……floating like a duck while flapping away underneath water (attempt to hide struggle with calmness)…..or my mom’s favorite……classy heels and lipstick with brushed hair will open all doors, The bombardment of social media has certain given many healthy and debatable topics for conversations around perception versus reality at our teen table……actually I wanted to say dinner table but in REALITY we aren’t all at the same table very often……jobs, divorce, sports, blah blah make it difficult if not possible to maintain the traditional dinner. I know that for myself the way I show up for a PTA meeting and the way I show up for myself can be and is mostly dramatically different….so we back to my question, which is reality?

I could attempt make that answer very complicated with talk of neuroscience and historical behavior patterns and our own self awareness. All these things impact how we want to be perceived…and how we want to be perceived is actually part of our own ongoing self awareness and growth which is also reality……however all of that is above my pay grade. I can give you my humble opinion and what exactly reality is for me and how I define it……there was the time I decided to smile at everyone in the grocer store (before masks)…as an experiment ….to simply see how people respond….I walked through the whole store and everyone was smiling in return and making eye contact. Win! In the checkout line, this woman says to me..”excuse me but you have some whipped cream with chocolate on the tip of your nose”. I had taken a Starbucks sample and carried the whipped cream and a melted chocolate shaving with me around the store right on the tip of my nose. Kinda threw some variables into my little experiment. Were they smiling at me because I was a friendly person or because they were laughing at my blatant mishap?

I believe that our own reality is drastically changing by the minute.

Life happens, we are happy we are sad we are angry. We learn and grow sometimes in a positive manner and sometimes along side of mistakes we make along the way. Life just keeps moving. The reality of the fact I just had a very difficult personal conversation in my car and was able to successfully walk into a meeting with a smile and confidence is my reality. I am not being fake and pretending to be someone I am not. It’s my own self awareness and the ability to know that I am sad and angry, that I WANT to be professional and friendly to the people in that meeting. It doesn’t mean I’m not angry or sad. It simply means that I am self aware enough with emotional maturity (at that specific moment) to handle the situation with as much grace as possible. That is all ME. I also have many examples where any grace I had went out the window. It’s all reality. It’s all my own personal growth and self awareness of my emotions and my personal decision on how to behave (emotional regulation). Our emotion…awareness….behavior……..in that minute which is reality. Its setting my intention on how I want to be perceived and the work I need to do to get there. My ability to learn from my mistakes and pick myself back up. Its a journey.

Now what other people think of me I can’t control.

If I am trying to get a promotion at work and I ask my supervisor what I need to do to be promoted. The recommendation is be on time, communicate more effectively and timely, dress more professional (lets say I am a introverted late person and I believe looks don’t matter). I can either adapt and go after the promotion or decide to look for a better fitting work environment. All of the is reality including the the recommendations for promotion. Yes that may upset a lot of people but in my world its reality….thats my reality….its all my growth wether I take it to a positive state or a negative state or I fluctuate. It is all growth and it is all reality. Your reality is your perception. Change your perception and change your reality. My reality is based on my own perceptions and self awareness and how I would like to be perceived. The fact is all we can do is try and be the best person we can for ourselves whatever that means for us. We are our own unique human being doing the best we can on this spinning planet. Become mindful and set intentions on where and who you want to be. Write it down. Do you best to live it. If your perception of your reality is that you have are not living to your intention. Get right back on that bike and change your reality! If you need to even find a new trail to follow!

Side Note: The unalome symbol represents the path to enlightenment in the Buddhist culture. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life, and the straight lines the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony.

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