“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” - Anais Nin
The Buddha famously said,
"All that we think, we become."
Our thoughts are much more powerful than we typically believe they are. The same goes for perception.
2021 is a new — and hopefully very different — year. New Year’s Day ushers in our annual opportunity to set new goals, new plans, and renewed vigor.
But it’s also the chance to shift our perception.
Yours is an important factor in determining your state of mind. Your reality.
Do we always need a new perspective? No. Sometimes our perception is exactly what it needs to be at that particular moment. But we can all benefit from being able to see things from multiple perspectives now and then.
Some call it shining a spotlight with a fresh eye. Others talk about stepping back in order to see the bigger picture. Call it whatever you want, but the ability to change our perspective lets us fully engage with the world and the people within it.
Some perspectives are pushed upon us, while others are embraced through either investigation, experience, or curiosity.
Through which lens are you seeing the world?
What’s Your Default Perception?
If you were to lean into that question, what would it mean to you? Ask yourself:
- Does everything appear to need fixing?
- Do you see beauty in everything and everyone?
- Do you notice imperfections before everything else?
Often, just asking the questions creates the space necessary to both acknowledge and reconsider our lens. It makes us more aware of and compassionate to the varying perceptions of others.
“Your perception may not be my reality.” - Aporva Kala
The person you are does not need to change, but recognizing those differing perspectives tends to create less rigidity in ourselves, our world, and those around us.
An unexamined prejudice or bias can and often does produce a skewed perception, and that can have devastating consequences in matters of love and human relationships.
In order to respond accurately, we must examine those conditioned views with an open mind and a welcoming heart. We need to put time and energy into getting greater clarity of perception in the same way we devote ourselves to losing weight, or learning a language, or acquiring a new skill.
Perceive clearly. Understand more.
“There is no truth. There is only perception.” - Gustave Flaubert
There is no more important journey you will take — not that dream vacation, job promotion, marriage, family, friendship, or artistic creation — than the complete journey of your own life.
There is no project, foundation, or cause more important than reexamining the stories and perceptions that are preventing you from living the full breadth of your being.
Henry David Thoreau famously said it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. And what you see depends upon the lens you peek through.
The good news? Those lenses are not locked in place. We can switch, replace, and remove as necessary.
2020 was a challenging year, perhaps the most challenging in recent memory. So ask yourself, what three perception shifts did you have that you would like to carry with you into 2021?
Life is the long game.