Perception, Reality and Other Messy Things

Karl Menninger, it's not the event that does us in it's how we perceive it"It's not the event itself that does us in, it's how we perceive it."  Karl Menninger

Karl Menninger was a psychiatrist and author, famous for his book, Whatever Became of Sin? Click here to read a very nice essay on it in the Huffington Post.

There is reality. And there is our perception of our reality. They are not the same thing.

Reality is REAL reality and perception is perception and PERCEIVED reality.

The perceived reality may have more power over you then does the real reality. 

Now, before your head starts spinning, here is what I mean.

Have you had a situation where someone gives you "a look." You know, "that look." And you don't like that look. That look bothers you. You know what that look means. It doesn't mean anything good. So now you are bothered by that look. You ruminate on it. It messes with your mind. Next thing, you are in a full blown "funk" about that look. 

You finally decide to confront the person about that look... and when you do... they are absolutely clueless about what you are saying. Not only do they not remember the look, they don't even believe what you are saying they must have meant by that look. 

I had a reverse case of "the look" recently. I guy came up to me and apologized for something. I was dumbfounded. He said, I knew you were upset with me by the look you gave. Huh? What look? "You know, that look." And he went on and explained the look and the situation of me giving him the look. 

I did remember the situation. I told him it is very possible I gave him some kind of look. But I gave him my full assurance that how he interpreted what the look meant was far removed from what I would have been thinking. He thought I was bothered by something he did, and to the best of my understanding, not only was I "not bothered" but that issue doesn't bother me at all.

But he was bothered by how he perceived the look and what I meant by it. And it caused him some restlessness and distress. 

This stuff happens all the time.

We are always in the midst of events, of realities, of stuff... and we are always perceiving, interpreting and making meaning of that reality. What does us in, is more often than not, a mis-perception of the event.

So if you are feeling "done in" about something you perceived, go talk about it. Start a question. Go searching for the Real Reality, so you can have your Real Perceptions of Real Reality.

I hope you perceive how helpful I intended to be with this post!

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International