Perception is reality – or not.

While avoiding a workout, I went to ULTA. While examining shades I asked the employee for advice. She said, “Since your eyes are so blue and hair is so dark, I’d go with this one.” On my way to Target, I saw a member of mine, slowed down and said hello to him. He didn’t recognize me in my workout gear. Then I went to Target and saw my reflection through their doors and told myself immediately I needed to NOT skip the workout.

What happened in these 15 minutes was a lesson to me in perception. Is it reality? And if it’s reality – whose? What’s real?

“Your hair is so dark…” – not. It’s gray actually. Well, I think it is because as soon as the roots come in, I get it colored. But that Ulta employee could go home and think about this customer who had blue eyes and really dark hair. That’s real to her. What’s the real image I project to my members? The girl in the dress and hair and makeup complete. But I don’t hang out in my house in a dress and makeup (well, not all the time.) I saw my not so flattering reflection in the Target entrance and immediately felt horrible and knew as soon as I got home, I’d go work out. I didn’t like what I saw. My perception was too …. Something.

Then I saw something on my walk. I saw my shadow. I was running (I do a minute or so for every 10 minutes.) And I saw this beautiful shadow. She was strong. Her short ponytail was swishing side to side. The angle was right and she looked beautiful and strong. She was NOT the same woman in the Target entrance.

But she was. So what’s real? I’ve been part of a few conversations lately about self image and although I believe what we all feel – I see the image differently. So what’s real? If perception is reality – WHOSE perception is right? And really, does it matter?
Today I led two meetings. I was perceived by close to 70 members. I was perceived by my colleagues. I was perceived by my husband. I was perceived by my children and even my dog. All these perceptions were different. But I started my day looking in the mirror critical of every wrinkle, stray hair, wide nose…. But I was getting ready to face a day. SO many different views of me and probably only one saw the one in the Target entrance disgusted with myself. I’m thankful I saw the shadows after that because the fresher memory is the strong one. The free one. The one who was outside running and walking and not sitting on the couch. I’m happy I saw her.

I’m glad there were many perceptions of me today. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to create them for others as well as myself. I’m really glad I saw my shadow.


2 thoughts on “Perception is reality – or not.

  1. I went to church today in a very cute dress which was 2 sizes smaller than what I wore just 3 months ago. I felt awesome, pretty, and , well, confident. I have LOTS more pounds to lose, and I realize that many people would feel terrible being the size I am right now…… I guess that’s perception also, liking what I am seeing because it’s a move in the right direction. Was I really pretty today?? I felt pretty and I think that’s what mattered today to me. Tomorrow it may be different…. I may see myself through their eyes and not like myself so much. On second thought, think I will concentrate on having more of those days like today.

    • Barb, I think you hit the nail on the head. What matters is what you see! And on the days you don’t necessarily see the positive – feel pretty – then to remember the ones you did.

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