Before I start, I challenge you to write down the first ten things that describe you. Who are you? WRITE IT DOWN. NOW. SERIOUSLY. It’ll help you.
I don’t know whether I am making this up or not, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used “your perception is everything” and/or “perception is key” several times in past posts. It might have been “perspective.” Well, I’m here to tell you I have realized just how right I actually am when I say that. I am 150% right. This keeps coming back to me in the textbooks I have to read for school and the ones I read for pleasure. Let’s talk about this for a little and delve a bit deeper into it.
Being aware of your perception(s) is important when it comes to the different people and experiences you encounter, but your perception of yourself is even more important. Why? Because it influences all your other experiences.
Let’s say you’ve grown up with the idea that you are shy and reserved. That’s how you define yourself. When people first meet you, you’re quiet. At parties or gatherings, you don’t introduce yourself to anyone, so you spend it being pretty lonely. That just further proves to you that you really are shy and reserved, so you live the rest of your life continuously defining yourself as that.
Let’s say you grew up thinking you weren’t good at math, so you ended up not studying as hard or putting in as much effort. That made your original perception more and more real as the classes got harder and harder (and your grades, worse and worse). Let’s say you’ve been hurt in the past, so you’re wary in your relationships. You look out for the slightest sign your partner might be just like your ex, so you freak out and create the problems you never wanted to have. Let’s say you turn in your assignment and your boss praises you for being hard-working and organized, but you tell him that the project was “just easy” and you “didn’t really do much”, “anyone could have done it”. You don’t see yourself as hard-working and organized, so you’ll reject this new concept of yourself. You’re not willing to lose your old perception and make way for the new.
WHY DO WE DO THIS? WHY ARE WE SO SET ON HAVING THIS HARD-WIRED IMAGE OF OURSELVES THAT WE ARE UNWILLING TO LET GO OF?
Survival. Sanity. It makes life a bit easier. By the way, it’s not always a bad thing. Let’s say growing up, you were praised for a particular skill, so you started to associate that skill with the praise. That skill became a part of your identity and to this day, you’re still better at it than the average person. Let’s say some of your perceptions about yourself are GOOD ones. High-five. Let’s say a huge change happened in your life and you were faced with many challenges you didn’t think you could handle, but you kept keeping on, and now you know, you are unstoppable.
Look at the ten things you wrote down. How many of those are empowering? How many of them add to you and your life? How many do the opposite? Circle the ones you believe you could do without and next to them, write “I am ___________.” In the blank space, write the opposite of the word you circled and start practicing it. Anytime a situation comes up where you want to go back to your old perception, remember the new one, and run with it. Change is scary, but it’s so damn worth it.