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Perception Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Your perception of a certain situation may not be the other person’s intention or reality. This is particularly applicable to the misinterpretation of texts or social media posts. People often take situations, conversations and social media messages as they seem to them. This applies on all fronts from work and business to family, friends and partnerships. If you leave something to your own interpretation, it can be very dangerous. In my latest blog, Becoming Aware, the Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Specialists based in East Sussex looks at the definition of perception, how it can lead to difficult situations and how these might be avoided.

Definition of perception

“A belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem.”

Cambridge Dictionary

“The act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.”

“Your perception of something is the way you think about it or the impression you have of it.”

Collins Dictionary

Situations that may be perceived wrongly

Have you been in the situation where somebody says something to you and you take it in a negative way? You might even view it as a criticism and feel upset. Or have you received a text message and not liked the tone? Or seen something on social media that causes angst and hurt? You have probably made an immediate judgement that may not be correct. How you react to a situation might result in a better outcome. Read on to find out what to do.

How to react to situations?

· Take your time – don’t react or respond immediately

· Consider that they may have meant something completely different to your perceived meaning

· Ask for clarification – what did you mean by that?

· Be objective

· Discover where the person is coming from – there may be underlying circumstances

· Talk it over with a friend, partner or family member

· Don’t take it personally

Your first take on a situation may not always be right or accurate

By taking your time, you can consider the situation and what has been stated in a calm and centred way. Your interpretation will then not be formed on the back of emotion. It’s a good idea to write your response down and you can then address the situation in a calm and measured way. By discovering where someone is coming from, you may find that they have not been well and it is a reaction to what is happening in their life. They are in effect ‘lashing out’ and you are right in the firing line. Also bear in mind that your immediate reaction may not always be right and may not be an accurate assessment. All messages and statements are open to interpretation. Another point to consider is, “Do I need to take this on?” You always have a choice and it’s how you react to it. It can only affect you if you let it.

How can Becoming Aware help you with how you perceive things and situations?

It’s quite common for people to react to situations and draw the wrong conclusions from time to time. Make sure you ascertain what is being triggered and the angle a person is coming from. As a Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Specialist, I can help you sort through the issues and help you to look at them differently and certainly objectively. It’s often the case that your perception is not right. Call me on 07766 427966 for a free without obligation chat or email

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