Let’s play a quick game! (I love games!) First, grab a pen and post-it or open some app where you can quickly write. I’m going to list some words. I would like you to read each word and then write down the very first word that comes to mind as you read these words. This isn’t a test…you won’t be graded and there are no right or wrong answers. Please number your paper from one to ten. Here we go!
- Long hair
If you would like to share your correlations, I would love to see what you came up with! You can leave them in the comments, below.
These words seem completely random for the most part. The funny thing about these words is that Google Correlate has found connections between all of them! People who searched for divorce also searched for marriage counseling and full armor of God. They also Googled amazing quotes about love, funny twitter status and credit report.
But why does this even matter to you? It matters because,
“Perception is reality.”
Those three words sum up one of the greatest lessons of my life.
When we perceive negativity in our world – whether at work, in our marriage, or from our children – we expect it, see it, and often times manifest it or create the right circumstances for a negative interaction to occur. The same is true for positivity, joy, love and blessings. We are all in control of how we perceive the world. This control is a blessing but also a curse.
See, I learned that it was people’s perceptions of me that shaped my reputation…not my perception of myself or how I understood the world around me. Not even my work or deeds actually influenced my reputation. I learned that the way people imagined me was their reality of me. Marinate in that statement for just a moment.
This was a very sad realization for me at the time. What I perceived as generosity and good will was perceived by others as something completely different, vile even.
The lesson I learned is that even if you are a genuinely wonderful, loving person, people who have very low self-esteem or who have been deeply hurt by people they loved and trusted, will always perceive you as bad, untrustworthy or altogether unlikeable. They will always have a negative perception of you.
Cheer up though! You do not need to control other people’s perceptions of you. Don’t worry about them. Instead, carry on about your business. Keep doing what you know is right and fair and loving. Keep growing, pursuing new goals, sharing your experiences and teaching others your knowledge. Be you – the amazingly talented and unique being you were created to be.
Insurance, long hair, divorce, weight, counseling, soul, Twitter, armor, marriage, love…
Let’s take a look at your word pairs. Do you have positive pairs or are the words you chose mostly negative? You see, although this wasn’t a test, it was a check – a reality check.
I know that life is not rainbows, unicorns, and chocolate. Your past experiences have shaped your worldview…but your perceptions of those experiences will shape your future.
What I see in this list of words is a society in need of love, acceptance, protection, and connection.
We wish we could love ourselves more.
We desire love from people we hold in esteem.
We long to love others better.
We hope for an everlasting love.
We hope to be valued.
We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We long for people to admire us.
We want to contribute.
We are afraid and long for someone to keep us safe.
We yearn for warmth and shelter.
We hope for a secure future.
We search for common ground.
We strive for meaning.
We strive for worth.
We seek out companionship.
You can have all of these. You were not made to “do life” alone. You simply need to shift your perception. Change your viewpoint. Try to see people and situations from a different angle.
Most importantly, remember that what you perceive of others is what you will receive from them. Please take care to perceive worth and greatness in those you love.