Perception is Based on Belief, not Reality

Our perception of the world is what decides our lives. We see, we choose, and that determines our behavior. Our perception of experiences reveals our framework, our belief system.

Belief and perception create our personal world. Each person lives in a separate reality. No two people can have exactly the same perception. A common mistake in relationships is expecting the other person to respond to an experience the same way we do.  When belief systems clash, there is division. When belief systems agree, there is community. Respecting others’ belief systems requires tolerance and acceptance, which are the bases of community.

Reality, however defined, does not enter into our experience. It is our perception of reality that defines our experience. Rooted in our belief system, our perception colors our world. We should take time to examine our basic beliefs, noting their origin. Some may be from our parents, impressed upon us as children. Are these beliefs relevant now? Are they life-encouraging or life- damaging?

Many people have deeply rooted beliefs learned from members of organized religion. What effect do these particular beliefs have on our lives? What part does guilt play?  What have we learned to fear? What are our beliefs about death? What are our beliefs about those who do not hold our particular religious faith? What do we believe about our self-worth? Who taught us about self-love or self-hate?  Have we made the beliefs of others our own?  After focusing on the origins of our belief system, the next step is to sort out what is life-enhancing and what is harmful or useless.

Make a list of your main beliefs about yourself, noting their origin. Choose the positive ones and make them yours. Cross out the negative ones and resolve to notice them when they color your perception. Do a mental “delete” to damaging beliefs. If you notice that several beliefs are from a particular person, look at their life and notice the impact of these beliefs. Then decide if your perception is helped or hindered by them.

Beliefs are not set in stone.  Changes in the way you perceive reality are indicators of changes in your beliefs.  As you evolve, review your belief system.  If certain beliefs no longer serve you, let them go.  You may notice new beliefs; evaluate them in terms of your personal empowerment.

The more aware you are of your specific beliefs, the more you can control how you perceive yourself and the world around you. Positive perceptions bring a sense of well-being. They, in turn, strengthen a life of clarity and integrity. Assessing your basic beliefs and composing them into a positive whole enhances your ability to thrive and evolve.

Jacqueline Shuler
July 14, 2018