Proof That Perception Is Everything

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Which person are you: the one that sees good in everything and everyone, or the one that tends to be more realistic, analytical or factual?

In the words of the brilliant Elizabeth Gilbert, we have a choice to see the world as grim or grad - it’s up to each of us to decide on which side we’d like to stand. A few days ago a friend pointed me toward this inspiring article Elizabeth wrote and since it has been on my mind, I wanted to share it with you too.

She started it with a clever story about her grandmother and some spilled milk, and ended it by proving that depending on who we are, we all see the world, the people and their behaviours differently.

For example, Elizabeth’s father was always under the impression that his mom was a clumsy lady who always spilled the morning milk and he actually assumed the only reason she would sip some off from the top of the glass before handing it to her children was because she tried to prevent it from spilling over. His brother felts that this daily sipping routine was a caring gesture where she tested the freshness of the milk, while their sister was convinced that their mom was simply stealing their drink.

So which one of them is right? Does it actually matter?

According to Elizabeth

‘…investigating the truth about our lives in not so important because what seems to matter in the end is not so much what happens to us, but how we perceive what happens to us. That perception, ultimately, becomes the world that we will inhabit.

This is not to say we shouldn't be honest. There are certainly instances in life when we must demand that painful truths be exposed and dealt with. Without a doubt, facts are facts. But facts can take us only so far. For instance: Everyone in my family agrees that my grandmother always sipped the milk. That's a stone-cold fact. But what did her milk sipping mean? Ah, now we have entered into the realm of perspective, and now limitless interpretations are possible.

This is why two people - or three, in the case of my dad and his siblings - can experience the exact same circumstances in life and turn out completely different. What I hear as a compliment, you might hear as an insult.

Listen, we're not always in control of our fate - and that is a fact. You may be robbed or you may be blessed (or some combination of the two, most likely), but that's not really the point. The point is: If you feel like you're constantly being robbed, then you live in a world that's all about constantly being robbed. And if you feel like you're constantly being blessed, then you live in a world that's all about constantly being blessed. What we usually see when we interpret our lives is nothing but ourselves - as the truth gets screened through a thousand-layer filter composed of all our weirdness and wonderfulness.

If we try to see things with the most generous eyes - searching for the truth, yes, but then bestowing upon that truth the brightest and kindest interpretation - we can learn how to perceive a more beautiful world. Do that, and I promise you this: You will get to live in one.’

This makes SO much sense to me. Just by looking at thinks in a more happy way, we'll likely feel happier about our life as well. What do you think? Agree or disagree?

P.S: Also, a sweet lesson on patience and this powerful advice:)
P.P.S: Plus, what are your perfections?

(Article via Oprah. Photos via Hello Fascination and Jacony's Memo)


Anonymous said...

100% agree, she is a smart woman. Jill

Unknown said...

Wow! This is wonderful and I'm sharing it with my husband. I definitely 100% agree! xo, Katie

the cape on the corner said...

there's a fabulous fiction book called everything i never told you, by celeste ng and i just found it eye opening, even though it's fiction. it's very much like the story that you just described, how everyone in the family has different views on the same happening, and how something appears to be one way but the internal motivation (ie, the grandmother) might be completely different. a small book but a great read.

Jana said...

Yes, yes, and yes

Diana Mieczan said...

the cape on the corner, thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely check it out. :)

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