Are your perceptions affecting your life and relationships?
Of course, the answer is a resounding YES! Now to see how. . .
Perception is how we interpret what is going on inside and outside of ourselves. It’s the conclusions we jump to when we try to analyze events, circumstances, and the presentation or behavior of ourself and others.
What is my perception
dictating about my life?
Your perception involves processing sensory input from the environment and then assimilating that information with your own expectations, experiences, and knowledge. The entire process occurs on a subconscious level without even realizing it’s happening.
Is your perception bringing you to a life of inner peace and joy?
Here are five ways perception affects us…
In this week’s exercise you will take inventory of your own perceptions and explore exactly how they are affecting your life and relationships. . .
Exercise: Explore each area honestly and neutrally
for the sake of self assessment and information gathering.
1. First Impressions
First impressions can make a lasting impact that is hard to shake. This is related to a phenomenon called the halo effect, in which a person’s initial positive perception in one thing carries through to similarly positive perceptions in the future whether warranted or not. The reverse is also true.
If a negative first impression is made, it becomes difficult to replace with a positive one. Unfortunately the halo effect distorts reality. These false impressions are the reasons why con artists can fool so many victims and why innocent people are sometimes wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit.
Make a list of all the times your first impression of someone was incorrect:
Our perceptions are influenced by a complex array of factors. For instance, they can include labels we assign to others based on age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, social status and religion.
These stereotypes may have been learned in childhood and can be difficult to overcome. They lead to inaccurate and unfounded assumptions without a thorough review of evidence.
Write down all of the stereotypes you are assigning to others:
3. Selective Perception
Selective perception or tunnel vision occurs when only a few facts become your main focus while you simultaneously ignore or minimize all others. This often occurs when a person is trying to solve a problem.
They see only one solution and in doing so may minimize or ignore not only other solutions. However, the negative consequences of the one they have chosen. This can have disastrous results.
Write about all of the times your selective perception has negatively impacted a situation:
4. The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
This occurs when we have internal expectations and then subconsciously set up our environment to fulfill them. They can be positive or negative expectations, which directly influence our interactions with people.
For instance if somebody thinks of themselves as a failure then they may not put much effort into successful completion of a task or pick one that is complex and new. When they fail they use their failure to reinforce their negative perception of themselves.
Write down any/all of the self-fulfilling prophecies you are repeating:
5. Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret and search for evidence to confirm your own beliefs even in the face of contradictory information. This is where you might be interpreting information in a biased manner to support your own conclusions.
On occasion attitude polarization will occur due to a person’s own biased search, interpretation and memory of evidence in the face of extreme disagreements between people. Another manner in which people confirm their own bias is by perceiving a false association between two events.
Write about any time you can recall when you used your confirmation bias in your communication:
Change your perception – Change your life!
Now that you have taken some time to assess your own perceptions and get a glimpse of how they may have affected your life and or relationships, it’s time to explore how to shift.
Here are five ways that you can begin to make adjustments to your perception that will enhance your life:
1. Take personal responsibilityChanging your perceptions requires that you, first, take responsibility for your past unconscious reactions. It’s only then that you can begin to see people, events, things, and even yourself from a more neutral or positive perspective.
2. Have compassion for yourself and others
Shifting the way you view the world is no easy task, so it’s essential to be patient and kind with yourself. Have compassion for yourself as you practice taking proactive steps towards perceiving your reality in a more conscious and empowered way.
The same is true when you incorporate compassion for others while you begin adjusting and shifting your perceptions.
3. Have a willingness to see things differently
Change of any kind requires willingness. Often people say they WANT to change, but they aren’t actually prepared to make the necessary changes. So having a desire to see things differently is a vital component. This readiness creates room for you to learn and create new perceptions.
4. Activate your pause button when triggered
Whenever you feel triggered by someone, something, or some situation, hitting “pause” and taking a moment to breathe and ground yourself into the present moment so you can choose how you will respond from a more empowered place.
And if a few deep breaths aren’t enough to help you shift, don’t be afraid to let other people know that you need some time to process things, and that you will address the issue at a later time.
5. Look for your patterns
We all have patterns of the way we perceive things. To spot those patterns, begin asking yourself if other independent, objective people would look at the same situation and come to the same assessment as you have.
This practice will cause you to think more critically and less emotionally, and open you up to notice things that you may have initially missed because you were caught up in your pattern.
Exercise: Using these five examples for how to shift your perception in these areas, explore your own auto-perceptions in the next week with all of your interactions. Write down every time your perception prevented you from seeing things neutrally. Making note and assessing these self assessments will help heighten your awareness to your perception. Making it easier to see how it affects your life.
As always, consider sharing your thoughts, understanding, and results in the group thread. This may support you in many ways as well as support others too.