Your Perception and My Responsibility

Rosie's Hope watercolor on canvas 3x3
Rosie's Hope watercolor on canvas 3x3

How you perceive something has everything to do with you, and nothing to do with me.

Perception has always been a fascination of mine. How one perceives about an external, or even an internal source of stimulation seems so complex on the outside, but it is, in fact, a really simple concept. This is the realm of the psychologist, and I am not one, but I am an observer and a student of human nature, most especially my own.

Perception was how, with the help of a psychologist, I got myself out of a huge life threatening depression, without drugs. It took many years of course, these things do not happen overnight, but it made me more aware and helped me to apply these principles to other areas of my life. These were valuable lessons.

It all boils down to the fact that our perception is one of our own responsibility.  Only we are responsible for what we think. And what we think and how we react can have everything to do with ego, and the incumbent “entitlement” and “expectation”.

A friend said, “PERception is skewed with DEception to create MISperception. Ie….Trompe le’oiel. I perceive it to be an opening to prevarication or quibbling.” And I do agree with that. The DEception part has to do with our own self – our ego which is full of expectations and entitlements (I deserve, I expect) but the DEceptive part is … are we really entitled? do we really deserve? …

if we go with his example of Trompe l’oeil (an artwork that looks so real it fools the eye), the painting is what it is, a highly realistic painting. The viewer may not know it is a painting and therefore expects it to be real. Once they find out it is a painting, they may feel amazement, dismay, admiration… a whole host of feelings. Some may even be angry at being fooled!  But the feelings are from the person themselves as they relate themselves to the painting.

Another person disagreed and said, “Unless you rovided(sic)  the subject for perception with bias or prejudice – ie. how it is presented.”

No, actually that is not true. There is a distinction between how I present something, and how you perceive something. My presentation is dependent upon how I perceive something and then react, according to my own prejudices, insecurities and emotions. This is my realm of control. Your reaction to what I present is in your realm of control. You react according to your own prejudices, insecurities and emotions. You react according to what you perceive as your entitlements, and your expectations. Are you entitled to be responsible for what I think and say? No, you are not. Am I entitled or do I deserve to be responsible for what you think and say? No I am not.

If you tell me that your reaction is based on how I present it, then you are giving me your power. You are giving your power over your own mind and heart over to me by saying that you would not have reacted in such a manner if I hadn’t done so and so. For example, a man (or woman) subject to anger issues hits his/her spouse, this is one of the most common statements: if you hadn’t done so and so, I would not have hit you. That is the paradox when someone uses force over another. They are afraid that they have lost their emotional power, and want it back physically, when they have actually given that power away. The receiver of the abuse has taken on the responsibility of the other’s emotions and given their power away, that of responsibility to themselves. This responsibility includes acknowledging what is rightfully theirs, and what is not.

Every time I get angry over something, I have to opportunity to look at my ego, and what I believe my entitlements are and what are my expectations of the situation or the other person. It can be a very enlightening and profound experience, and what a gift I give myself!

It doesn’t matter what I say, you can choose to be offended, you can choose to be anything! Your choices are dependent on what YOU believe, what YOU agree with, what YOU are comfortable with, they have nothing to do with me. Of course you can say to me that you are offended with whatever I did. That is completely valid – but to then pass judgment and/or punish shows me much about you. Your judgment and punishment tells me that your ego expects that I will be hurt by these actions, and somehow you feel entitled to this sort of retribution. Judgments and actions made to “punish” me for YOUR feelings is something that I CHOOSE to ignore, because I have no power over it.

My favourite saying these days is “Not my problem”. lol!

Every situation is neutral. Every single one.

A person can do whatever they want but if you do not react, or choose not to react, or choose your reaction, instead of just “reacting!” then you will, in my opinion, have gained awareness of yourself.

But… there are layers of awareness – these layers have to do with one’s own beliefs.

You will never control another person, and why would you want to? Someone who wants to control another, whether through religion or philosophy, tells me that that person really is not comfortable with what they believe and want someone else to believe it too, to back up their own “yes, it does make sense.” We are social animals. We all want to belong to something or someone – our ego drives us to associate with certain groups to fit in, or to give security. We seek out groups that fill a need. Remember outside of food and shelter and essential clothing, need is an ego affair. Anytime you say you “need” something, that is your ego talking! Your spiritual self “knows”, it does not “need” (in my opinion). Your higher spiritual self does not need to convince anyone, it does not need to control anyone. Your spiritual self understands and gives space and let’s a person walk beside them rather than be handcuffed together or drag the other behind.

Imagine how much control you would have over your world, choosing what to react to and what not to react to. The world is a big place and there are so many things that can tie you up in knots and create stress. Start eliminating those, again choices!, and enjoy a freer and unencumbered life. Having free will and the ability to choose is a scary thing for some people. They’d rather be told what to believe and what not to believe, what is right and what is wrong. As soon as you rely on an external source for judgments, you have given over control to someone else.

Regarding this post, the idea that you are responsible for your own perceptions –  these are words on a page. It is not important to me whether you do agree or disagree. It is enough that you read and considered.