The Thing About "Perception"

“Perception” is a word that I find fascinating. I truly appreciate the ancient philosophers who came up with this word. They really knew what they were talking about. (Socrates and his Allegory of the Cave, Descartes…)

Our “perception” of things undoubtedly are influenced by our experience and our beliefs. We “perceive” things according to information we readily have. We make sense of things according to what we already know. For example, we perceive that a cup can be either half full or half empty. We perceive that we are healthy and fit from past experience. We are fit because we can do more than we could before.

However, perception isn’t always reality. I remember my perception of myself during my extremely chubby days. I perceived myself to be fit, very fit. I could walk hours on end exploring a new city. I moved around quickly. I never perceived myself to be big and chubby at all. I perceived myself to be healthy and “fit.” I was just slightly overweight that’s all. No big deal.

Then things changed.. I decided I wanted to lose weight, be really, really healthy before I got any older. My “perception” regarding my level of fitness changed drastically.

I came to a realization that what I had “perceived” to be fit, was nowhere near an average level of fitness. I gasped for breath after about a minute of fast running. The auntie next to me ran further and faster. My former “perceived” notion of fitness flew out the window. Reality had set in. My “perception” of fitness had to be redefined. What I had “perceived” to be true and trusted no longer held true.
“Perception” is therefore really your mind trying to make sense of all the information you have. Until you really “experience” or “sense” it, until you experience “reality” would your perception of things change. “Perception” is therefore formed, in-part, from your experiences.

It’s funny how perceptions change overtime. What “Perception” do you have of yourself?
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