Perception is our interpretation of what is presented to us. As shown in the picture above, both perceptions (the circle and the square) are true to the individuals who are interpret the truth. They are not lying – they are simply stating what they see or think, but a perception of a reality is not reality itself. How so?
We often see and hear what we want to see and hear, based on our own experiences, preferences and expectations. We like to stay within what is familiar to us. On top of that, we tend to reject things that we do not understand because we do not like feeling off-guard. We are not good at handling the unfamiliar or the unknown. The reality is that, regardless of our perceptions, we cannot change the absolute truth.
Hence, we tend to respond to the meanings we attach to things rather than the thing itself. For example, imagine two children are strolling along the beach and a giant Labrador runs towards them.
Child A: “Let’s play, doggie! This is fun!”
Child B: “He is attacking me! I am scared!”
Both children were presented with the same information in the same environment but how they perceived the dog was different. One child might be familiar with big, furry animals and another child might be under the impression that all huge animals are dangerous. Because their perceptions differ, they respond differently to the same thing.
A Matter of Perception
Perception is just our own unique way of making sense of something and the world. Just as I could perceive a mistake as a part of learning, I could also perceive a cucumber as a weapon. What is your perception of your self?