Many of us know the age-old saying “perception is reality.” However, I think it is bullsh*t. Hear me out…this is important because it may help us over-thinkers reach some clarity.
First, let’s define the words (thanks dictionary.com!):
Perception: noun-the ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses.
Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
Those who know me well, know that I am often lost in my imagination turning the things I perceive into a story that makes sense to me. The story I come up with doesn’t always match what is really happening. Sometimes I am spot on, but other times I’m way off. I know I am not alone. With the limited information we receive, it is impossible to jump to accurate conclusions 100% of the time. I’m not going to lie, many of my thoughts are pretty lofty and I often need a reminder to come back down to earth. In these cases, my perception is not reality. While it is humbling to admit that I’m not always right, it is also necessary.
If we find ourselves jumping to conclusions, we should acknowledge it. We should not take those conclusions as verbatim. I think the reason why we jump to conclusions is that we like to have answers. We like to know what is going on. We like to know what others are thinking, even if we don’t want to admit it. We need to be more comfortable with the unknown.
Now, let’s move on to Plato’s allegory of the cave — if you’ve never heard of it, you can watch this video.
In short, the shadows in the cave represent one’s ego getting in the way of seeing the truth (reality). We are prisoners of our own thoughts.
Our thoughts are hard to control (I know mine are). However, I believe the first step to managing your thoughts is simply admitting that what goes on in our minds and what goes on in the physical world are two separate entities.
So, next time someone gives you a funny look, don’t jump to the conclusion that they hate you. Relax, it could just be their face.