Too many years ago to mention here I resigned from a position I held. A senior member in the organisation made a rather public statement along the lines that I was a broken person incapable of dealing with the reality of life! Hmmm… seriously? Yes, seriously. In my young naivety I created a negative internal dialogue I would constantly repeat and rehearse, and thus live out subconsciously. I, without being aware of it, embraced this as the reality of who I was and I started to believe this to be a true reflection of me. I subconsciously believed that I was a dysfunctional member of society simply by being who I was.
People generally form a perception of who we are and, I believe, this is based on the perception we have of ourselves and thus the one we project.
So what impact does our internal self-perception have on our outward reality? I believe that how we perceive ourselves internally influences how we project ourselves to others in society and how we ultimately function in society. Chances are that if we are convinced, not necessarily at a conscious level, that we are a failure, we will act out accordingly and project that message to the rest of society. Chances are that we will be perceived as a failure, be seen as such, and treated as such. There’s an old saying that goes: “Perception defines reality.”
There is a famous statement [attributed to Stephen R. Covey]: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” The circumstance was a negative statement, as misguided as it may have been, made about me. My decision, conscious or otherwise, was to let that define my perception of who I was. The end result was not pretty. I walked around as a young-adult with a chip on my shoulder. I was angry at the world blaming everyone for the challenging situations I had encountered. This in turn led me to become a negative person to interact with. I become a product of my decision. The actual circumstance was irrelevant. It was my decision that defined the outcome. I allowed my immature decision define the reality of who I was.
As I continued to walk along my journey of life I pondered on the statement: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” I started to challenge the decisions I made due to challenging circumstances encountered. I eventually realised that only I have the power to make new decisions. Only I have the power to rewrite my internal scripts, to adjust the perceptions I have of myself. By working on creating a much more positive self-perception, based on new decisions, I soon created a far more positive perception of who I am in the minds of those whom I encounter in life. It is my experience that we live out, and project ourselves in society, in the same manner in which we perceive ourselves.
Now I challenge each decision I make for each circumstance I find myself in. I challenge myself to make the best, and most positive decision possible – to turn each situation into a learning opportunity and grow from it. Only we have the power to make, or change, our decisions and define how we perceive ourselves.
Perception defines reality!
Yours in lifelong learning,