Perception and Reality

What is true? Is it what you or I understand, see or experience? Or is it neither?

Understanding that each individual has their own perception of reality doesn’t really clarify matters, does it?

Reality is fact. It is objective. It is truth. What complicates matters is that reality is not always known. Perception, on the other hand, is an impression, a belief, and it is subjective. Perception is the lens through which we view reality. It is a belief based on what we see, hear and think. Our experiences shape our interpretations of reality. Though one’s perception may very well be their reality, it is not, in actuality, reality. There exists a gap. Muddy enough for adults, imagine explaining this to a 10 year old?

When a Grade 5 student is playing Foursquare at recess, and the ball lands out of the quadrants, did they intend to do that or did the wind blow the ball slightly to the left or right? When the election results came in, is it reality that the country voted strategically or is it perception? When a Grade 8 student overhears another in the locker room talking about failing a quiz, without having received the results yet, is that reality or perception? When you are cut off in the parking lot by another driver, is it because that driver is careless and self-serving, or is it because they have an urgent matter to contend with and didn’t even see you? What else is happening in those instances, inside of our minds? What values and beliefs are coming into play that influence how we see, feel, or think of a situation?

Misperceptions about situations at hand happen daily. Some are cause for joy and celebration; oftentimes, they are cause for consternation or frustration. Can perception of an event be reality or truth?

My dad, a lawyer, often mused about how a group of people in the same room, could have so many different interpretations of the same event. When we react to an experience, what beliefs come into play? Are our assumptions based on fact? Are we assuming good intentions? Or is our lens tainted? Taking the time to consider these will determine our actions and reactions, and more than likely, create a more positive outcome.

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