The definition of perception is, the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. I find that perception can be manipulated for a positive outcome if we only change the perceptive from which we view it. Attitude and quality of life can change drastically simply by changing the way we see things. If we only see red than true light is hidden behind the smears of a single primary.
I was at a business dinner recently where Dave (a co-worker) had brought his new girlfriend, Sheila. Sheila didn’t know anyone and was kind of nervous meeting everyone for the first time. A woman from another department named Nancy approached me several times to voice her negative opinions on Dave’s date. She told me how rude she was and how out of line her comments were and how she was so clumsy by spilling her drink. The next day Dave told me how nervous his girlfriend was about meeting everyone and that out of all the people he worked with at the dinner it was Nancy that Sheila liked the best. She said how Nancy made her feel comfortable and welcome.
To me this is a great example of how two completely different people can have completely different perspectives on the exact same situation. One woman perceived only the negative where as the other saw things from only a positive view. If we start off an encounter already on the defensive, finding common ground can seem impossible.
A woman at work was talking to me the other day. She told me that she had lived most of her life in an old farm-house on her family’s property. One day she met this man who she fell in love with. They decided to buy a place all their own. So she moved out of the family home and in with this man. Her son and his girlfriend had fallen on hard times and she offered the farm-house to them until they got back on their feet. After a year had passed by her relationship had run its course and she knew it was at its end. She went back to the house to let her son know that she would be moving back in. But when she got there she saw that he had torn down the walls that divided a few of the rooms in order to make them larger. In doing so he lessen the number of bedrooms making it impossible for her to return home. He even took the opportunity to ask her if she could remove a few items that she had left behind because they were in his way. Now she felt very much alone and scared. Being trapped in a house with a man she does not love in a home she sunk her entire life savings into.
This is another good example of perspective. Her son sees the world as owing him everything, so he only takes and never gives anything in return. The woman sees herself as undeserving of the world so she gives everything and never asks for anything in return. It’s a double negative. Happiness is hard to find when minus outweighs the plus. If they both realized that the farm-house was the foundation of the family, a gift of unity, and was meant to be shared by all who were in need. Then a positive perspective would strengthen those walls and create an unbreakable bond of love and trust. Instead the walls came down and weaken the structure.
Last year a friend of mine found out he had family he never knew he had. It seems that his father, who left when he was very young, had a daughter who lived in England. Well his half-sister who in her search for the family tree, found my friend. So this woman and her husband and their two children made plans for fly out for a visit. In talking to my friend along with a neighbor of his, he had mentioned that he wished he could have them stay at his house but there just was no room. He felt bad because the woman didn’t have much money and was barely able to buy the plane tickets. So the neighbor offered his home, which was even smaller than my friends, so they would not have to worry about a place to stay once they arrived. The neighbor’s wife and kids put up tents in their back yard and camped out so his guests could sleep comfortably in the beds. When they had left after the visit my friend approached his neighbor and seemed rather upset. He didn’t like the fact that his sister had come all the way out there to meet him and ended up spending most of the time at the neighbor’s house. He said to him, “She is MY family after all”, and the neighbor could only reply, “That’s right, you should have been the one sleeping in the tent”.
You see my friend sees the world as limited to the confines of the wall he lives within. The neighbor sees the world as wide open beyond the limits of negativity. His doors are always opened, my friends is always closed. A stranger is only a stranger until you meet. We are all family, some just share a closer DNA.
I always heard about the power of positive thinking. And I suppose there is some truth to that. Bad things still happen. The world is a very imperfect place. But the perspective we take on the events of every day life can greatly change everything. Happiness and sorrow are only divided by which direction we choose to see it from.