The Power (and Illusion) of Perception

May 2024

“If you worry about what others think of you, you don’t think much of yourself.”


When I heard this said to someone in a recent seminar, it immediately caught my attention.  Most of us wonder what others think of us, especially negative impressions. I realized the judgemental thoughts I have about myself, I project onto what I believe others think of me. I think they notice and judge my faults, failures and fat.

I realized the reverse is also true.  What we judge about others is a projection of our unconscious beliefs, biases and blind spots, good and not-so-good.  If you think others have ‘issues’ and should be different than they are, you are perceiving them through the filter of your ‘stuff’.

As it turns out our perceptual mind is not trustworthy.  What we perceive ‘out there’ are projections informed by our conditioned thinking and mental constructs.   We are innocently and unknowingly creating our experiences of people and circumstances through our capacity to animate our thoughts and have those impressions seem ‘real’.

When you don’t recognize the best in yourself, you are experiencing a temporary delusion of your thinking.   You may have noticed you move in and out of acceptance and appreciation for yourself and others.  The secret is to understand how it works and not pay attention to dismissive and distressing thoughts as best you can.  You won’t notice yourself thinking those thoughts but you’ll be alerted by how you feel.

Where do you notice how the perception of yourself and others changes, sometimes quickly?  What does that say about how reliable perceptions are?

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