A journalling prompt I came across recently was about how people perceive us and I have to admit that I really can’t answer that. How would I know? Do you know how people truly perceive you? Doesn’t it vary anyway from one person to another? And honestly, I don’t feel comfortable asking people how they see me. First of all, I don’t want to put them on the spot and in an uncomfortable position. Second, will they tell me the truth? Third, do I really want to hear it? Fourth, what if they are not truthful or if they are overly kind, how is that helping me? Finally, what if their perception of me doesn’t align with the image I have of myself? What if it hurts my feelings?
Gustave Flaubert wrote, “There is no truth. There is only perception.”. Any opinion of us would be just that, an opinion, a perception, an interpretation, not a reality. This doesn’t mean of course that other people’s opinion of us doesn’t matter, only that we should take them with a pinch of salt.
Equally, unless we have cultivated a healthy love and respect for ourselves, our own perception is flawed.
The real matter is what we are going to do today, tomorrow, to project the image we want people to see, not because we want to please them but because it is the image we want of ourselves. Now is always the right time. We can list those things we would like ourselves to look like in the eyes of others and decide every morning how we are going to act and react to align with this image.
We can also extend this idea to our life. How do others perceive our life? I tend to think that when we try to figure this out, we will see that our life looks better than we thought and that it probably is better than we think. Describing our life on paper can give us a chance to see how good it is and where we could make changes. They might require more time and planning than to decide in the morning how we are going to be that day, but it could be very exciting.
Unintentionally, we sometimes become complaisant about the way we live our life and we lose sight of the power we have to change our daily behaviour and to change the bigger picture of our life. I know I sometimes do and when I do, I feel as though I am on a hamster wheel, trapped, not holding the reins. Then I remember that I do and for all the things I can’t control, there are many little things I can do to change the way I experience my life. Our power is in the way we react to and the way we create each instant of our life. Moment by moment we can be who we are meant to be, who we want to be. If we take an outsider’s view, we might gain a new perspective and be reminded that we are the creators of our life.