Perceptions are a funny thing. It has been said that “perception is reality” and for many of us, that is the truth…until we realize that it is not. Perception is actually a filtered reality. It is filtered through our past experiences, environment, previous night of sleep, hunger levels and a variety of additional factors. I recently spoke with a friend about a post we both saw on social media. We found that it triggered emotions in both of us, but they were very different from each other. Our emotions and perspectives felt much like reality, but the reality was that the post had nothing to do with either of us.
When we opened the new space in our studio we decided that the rooms needed names to help differentiate them. A couple of the teachers brainstormed ideas for room names and decided on the “Coral Room” and the “Teal Room,” based on the colors of their rear accent walls. To provide some background, the original space has a coral mandala on the front wall and a teal accent wall to the rear, whereas the new space has a teal mandala on the front wall and a coral accent wall to the rear. During class, the teachers normally face the rear accent wall, while the students face the front mandala.
With that said, the students were royally confused over the chosen room names. They assumed the names would be based on the respective mandala colors because, well, that’s what they see during each class. Had the students chosen, the names would likely be opposite, yet still made perfect sense. Neither way is right or wrong, they’re just a different perceptions of the same thing.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
I think we all know and believe this deep down, but it can be challenging to remember when your perceptions don’t align with the perceptions of those around you. It’s easy to slip into the belief that you are right and “they” are wrong, when in fact, neither is true. Consider this next time you experience miscommunication, misunderstanding or any such conflict. We are all approaching life in the ways that we know how, and it is rarely from the same perspective as those around us. Thankfully, simply being aware of this fact can change everything.
Vicktor Frankel says “Between stimulus and response is a pause and all our power lies in that pause.” The longer the pause, the greater your power. Pause. Look at your perception. Remember that it is likely not reality, and then act accordingly.