Choose Your Perceptions Carefully

“Since we each paint our own perception of reality, we must be careful in selecting the colors we use from the palette.”

Much has been written about the idea that everything we experience in life is merely a perception of reality…or, more specifically, it is our OWN perception of reality. For example, if you and I were walking together and during the course of our travel we came across a dog on the path, the reality of this situation is simply that there is a dog on the path. However, our perceptions of, and thus reactions to, that dog could be quite different. Having been raised around dogs of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, I would likely greet the dog on the path with a big grin and welcoming hands. If, on the other hand, you either had no personal history of being around dogs, or your experience with dogs had been marked by some injury or trauma, your perception and reaction to that dog on the path could be very different…certainly not involving a big grin and welcoming hands!

Just as in the example of our meeting with the dog on the path, where each of our own perceptions of the dog colored our reactions to it, we come across situations everyday where our perceptions color…positively, negatively, hopefully, fearfully…our reactions to reality.  Many inevitable things happen in this world – the world spins, seasons change, day fades into night, life begins and ends.  Some of these changes we may like and others we may not.  Regardless, it is what it is. Other changes, such as the stock market surges upward or downward, our favorite contestant on a reality show goes home, or a friend expresses an opinion that’s different from our own, tend to set our “coloring” into motion. “It is what it is” still holds true, but we tend to color “what is” with our perceptions of how it is or isn’t what we want it to be. If we color our perceptions with the darker colors on our palette, we tend to feel less happy.  If we use brighter, cheerier colors, we tend to feel more happy. The paint choice is ours.

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