Perception is everything, or is it?

Your interpretations of the people, experiences and situations and circumstances you encounter shape your perceptions of the world.


Our learning takes place from the moment we are able to memorise the faces and facial expressions of our caregivers; those who raise us to adulthood. We gain all of our developmental processing from the crucial times of our development.

We learn how to perceive ourselves by our caregivers. We start to perceive from a very young age. Once we learn that a touch to the radiator will burn and cause us pain we recognise that radiators are hot. We then tend to react to radiators before we actually experience their heat. I remember the first time I experienced the hot radiators at school: it was piping hot. That first touch made me so apprehensive about radiators of that kind, the huge ones with the piping that seemed to wrap itself around walls and ceilings. Even if I could not feel the heat from a short distance away from that kind of radiator I was convinced and sure that the radiator was hot.

This is how our perceptions are formed; from an experience which forms our belief.

In most cases where there is a conflict going on, the reactions maintained and actioned by the opposing participating parties is often based on their perception of the situation, the person and the attitudes involved.

Which brings me to my point: nothing is exactly how we think it is, often it is that way because we think of it as so.

Now I am not discounting traumatic events - not at all. Facts are facts. They can not be argued with. When a situation happens, it happened. And that is the event. But the perception of how we view ourselves within the situation and how we define ourselves because of the situation - now that is where we can become unstuck.

All too often I have seen people define themselves based on a situation or a string of events. We place meaning on ourselves and others by how we handle the event or by what happened to us.

Perception is everything and once we realise that we own the rights to our perception of who we are, then we can start to create healthy positive change that enhances ourselves, our relationships and the way in which we choose to move forward with our lives.

Most of us live within the confines of the expectations of others; how we are held accountable for not wanting or striving towards someone else’s ideal of who, and how, we are supposed to be.

Often we are not aware that we are trying to live up to other's expectations, or where the expectations came from, and this is where counselling sessions can be useful - to help identify, so you can move forward from these unwanted perceived judgements.

Perception is everything. and nothing.

What I perceive about you means nothing to you if you perceive it to mean nothing to you. But if you do perceive it to mean everything to you, then it will be the detriment of you.

When we can separate from the expectations and delve deeper into our own personal understanding of who we are, we are better equipped to understand each other, we are better equipped to support each other and we are better listeners. But overall, we lose the judgement and that is what keeps the poison in the perception crisis.

You can take someone's words and make them your medicine. Those same words can also be poison. It is all about how you perceive it.

Once you master your need for acceptance, approval and need to not be rejected, you will open up your own perceptions towards being fluid, open and encompassing, thus supporting your own development and growth.

We need each other but you need you more. How did you perceive that?

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London EC3M & W5
Written by Disree Shaw
London EC3M & W5

Disree Shaw, Psychotherapist practicing CBT/REBT at the Priory in London. On a mission to make therapy accessible and change the world one thought at a time. With a primary focus on men's mental health, relationships and practical self-directed change. A Youtube vlogger on men's mental health topics, podcasts on mental health tips.

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