“Perception is reality” is a phrase overly used in the corporate environment; hence it is vital for the business to develop marketing strategies, for its representatives to be presentable (preferably to be in a suit) and to protect the brand – it’s all about the image.
Companies come up with catchy jingles, present their products in shiny and colourful packages and hire good-looking models, popular actors or charismatic sales force to generate interest and/or create awareness. This may be the norm or usual operational practice in the corporate world, entertainment industry or political environment but sometimes some of us seem to adopt this standard with our family and friends.
Perception is defined as “interpretation” – of what we see in the surface, which is opposite to what was initially proclaimed as “reality”. If you think about it, perception can be called “deception” as it is meant to influence and trick our understanding.
There was an experiment undertaken by an ordinary guy named Brett Cohen who pretended to be a celebrity. He paraded in Times Square with hired bodyguards, paparazzi and assistants, and people fell for it. Some even pretended they knew him by citing films and songs he never did.
In real life, perception is unhealthy as it can destroy relationships. Can you recall a time when you presented a boyfriend/girlfriend to your family or friends and their “first impression” affected your thoughts about him/her? How about labelling someone as dumb or slow when you had no idea that the person has (mental/physical/emotional) health issues? Heard of people committing suicide because they feel they had no one to talk to, no one would understand or were simply fearful of judgment from their own family and friends?
We all have reasons why we do things the way we do. We cope and grieve in our own way. No one will ever know the pain, regrets or guilt you feel except for you. We learn according to our style and readiness; no matter what other people think is right, it will only be right in your own time. Once you have accepted it. We celebrate the way we want to – according to what we are joyful about.
When we “interpret” actions they are simply called “assumptions” because no one knows exactly why someone is behaving a certain way, what’s the motivation for their actions, what are their priorities, what’s their bottom line goal or who are they doing it for. And our interpretation is corrupted by our own beliefs and values so it becomes our opinion. And when a free opinion is marred by emotions (jealousy, fear, suspicion, revenge, etc) then it has no value and simply becomes useless “gossip”. Gossip that’s meant to destroy reputation, confidence, status, relationships or hurt other’s feelings.
It is not fair that we judge others because they have different lifestyle, values or priorities from us. We all have our own lives to live. Each one of us has our own responsibility and path to take. Just remember what we see on others, as an outsider, is a silhouette of a man behind a stained glass. You may see him as grumpy but that may be his shield to protect him from similar disappointments he had experienced in the past. It could be that you see a man always happy but in reality he is showing a brave face as he doesn’t want to burden his family with worries. As the saying goes, “just because I do not weep, does not mean I am happy”
What is in a man’s heart or conscience/mind will always be between him and God. As James wrote, “there is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy.” And who are we to judge our neighbor?” We also need to remember that God also commanded, “ love one another as I have loved you”.