How often do you shrug off mistakes or misunderstandings with the aphorism "Perception is reality"? I've done it many times. Just recently an experience made me re-think this idea. Perception is NOT reality and we'd often do better if we accept that.
I had stretched out on the table in preparation for my therapeutic massage when the therapist told me to move my legs over to straigthen my body. I was completely surprised because I felt straight. I moved my legs as she asked and then I felt askew on the table, although she assured me that now my body was straight down the center of the table.
This was an instance of a physical perception that wasn't reality and it made me think about intellectual and emotional perceptions that are perhaps not reality.
1) Your preconceived ideas: Let's say that you believe that commuting in your area is always a hardship. You've preconceived this from daily traffic reports and how high your area ranks on the 'worst commute in the country' lists. So when you have to commute, you describe whatever situation you find yourself in as a hardship. Maybe that day traffic is exceptionally slow, but maybe it is normally heavy yet moving. You arrive at your destination and proclaim how difficult the commute was. That's your perception based on preconceived ideas, not on reality.
2) Your past experiences: We collect experiences all the time, and often they become our 'truth' or reality just because we've lived through them. Here's a positive example: I've had wonderful success training my Bernese Mountain Dog for several years. I call our classes "date night with Danny." So my years of experience make my reality that ongoing training with my dog enhances our daily relationships and makes him an easy dog to take everywhere. I like to tell everyone I meet that ongoing training is fun and satisfying. Others may have had opposite experiences and would seriously disagree with me. Each of us has a perception that is our reality. But there is probably no objective reality, meaning that my perception is not reality, it is just my reality based on my experiences.
3) Your biases and preferences: You've grown up with various customs and beliefs. These are your biases (not bad nor good, just yours). So you look at the world through these biases. Education is good. Local food is the best. Sanitizing helps prevent disease. Myriad others. When you experience something that calls into play a relevant bias, your perception of the event is yours, but is not necessarily reality.
When you recognize these different ways that your perception is not necessarily objective reailty, you can take a second look and adjust your behavior so it is in alignment with reality.
What experience comes to your mind where your perception was not reality? Share it with us through our comment box.