Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reality or delusion

I had someone tell me all the time, 'My perception is my reality'.  I can't even  begin to tell you how much I hate this; and on so many levels:
1. Perception does not change reality
2. Reality is fixed, accept it or live in your delusion, but don't try and make the rest of us think the two are the same
3. Perception for you does not change reality for me
4. You can live in your delusion, but don't for a minute think I will follow you there
5. I do not have to accept your perception as my reality
6. You can repeat this statement over and over and it still won't make it my reality
7. Telling me that your perception is my reality does not make it so
8. I used to believe that you living in your delusion didn't change reality. I now understand that your perception can indeed change how you perceive reality, thus it can change how you deal with events in your life and effect and even change your life.

In the book, Unbroken, three men are lost at sea in a raft. Terrible things happen to them.  From the start, two of the men optimistic, work for the good of the group, and maintain hope that they will be rescued.  The third man is pessimistic, looks out for his own good and eventually looses hope. Because of each man's perception, their reality is formed and fate is eventually set. The third man does not make it out alive.

Did the men's perception change reality? Not really. They were still lost at sea.  They still had terrible things happen to them.  The two men accepted their fate and thought and worked to survive it. Did their perception of reality help the two survive while leading to the one's death? I now have to admit that is a possibility. Yet, the one who was negative could not change the other two's perception that their situation was hopeless and that they should all give up.

I knew a married couple.  He had the perception that she should stay at home and not work and just take care of him. This was boring, unfulfilling for her and as hard as she tried, she could not accept his perception that this should make her happy and fulfilled.  He refused to engage her in any conversation about what would fulfill her or make her happy.  She eventually divorced him and found happiness and fulfillment.  His perceptions about what should be reality were vastly different than hers.  He could not bend her will to fit his.

Another person had the perception that they could manipulate the people around them to get what they wanted by bullying them, yelling at them, calling them names.  The people around them only became more stubborn in not giving in, began to alienate themselves from this person grew frustrated with this person.  This person's perception that they could get their way through making others accept their idea of reality didn't work for them.

Accepting reality for what it is and embracing it and adapting to it and learning to survive and cope and thrive....or live in denial, in hopelessness in despair, in pain.

I choose reality.  What do you choose?


jen said...

I hate that saying when it is someone trying to get me into their delusion... The saying makes sense when you think about it from the perspective of...

If I think something is real, I create it. I'm thinking of the movie Chocolat... There is one place where the woman is complaining about her husband. Someone else says, "He's not the boss of you,"

She replies with, "He is. It FEELS like he is."

She lives her life as if he is her boss, and as if she has no say, even though she DOES... She can't see it.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I even made sense.

Anon said...

Yes, Jen. I used to reject the idea that perception could create or change reality, but after reading the book, Unbroken, I realized that indeed, if we choose to let someone else's perception influence us, then we live in their delusion. It is when we choose reality, however, that we have choice; choice over our mind and future.