Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Musings: perceptions

How I perceive myself and how others perceive me can be two very different phenomena. I'm someone who is constantly working on changing the things about myself that don't work. Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes I slide back and behave in old ways. I've been thinking a lot about how I perceive myself and last Friday an incident made me think about how I am perceived and how that affects my relationships.

I used to be nervous and anxious most of the time about just about everything. Being that way I'm sure had an impact on how others felt being around me. And knowing that about me, their responses to my conversations took my anxiety into account.

But what if I'm not nervous and anxious anymore. And yet friends are still responding to me as if I am. Is it possible to change perceptions without having to say it out loud? Can people see and hear changes?

That led me to thinking about just how present and consciously aware we are. How many of us go through life pretty much on auto-pilot, wake up the same time each morning, have pretty much the same breakfast, go to work or, for those of us who are retired, go to our daily activities, maybe have lunch or dinner with a friend. If we're not fully present, of course we won't notice subtle changes in ourselves or our friends.

My spiritual retreat, which began during the holiday season, has led to some deep, life-changing insights and shifts in how I move through my world. Long held negative beliefs are leaving my psyche and my soul and I feel different inside my own skin.

Perhaps as my perceptions about myself and my world change, the perceptions of those around me will begin to shift as well.

Do your perceptions of yourself match the perceptions of those in your life?
Blessings,
Karen

17 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Once people have grown to expect certain things of us, it's hard to change that perception. It can be done, just takes time. We just have to remain consistent with our new attitudes and behaviors.

Bish Denham said...

Excellent post! I don't think my perceptions of myself match with how people see me. Most of the time I feel pretty insecure, but people seem to see me as strong and independent. I'm learning to accept graciously the compliments I receive, rather than be embarrassed by them. Compliments are a gift that need to be received/believed. In that way the giver is being honestly acknowledged and receives a gift in return.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, I think that's very true. Thanks
Bish, yes, yes yes

Chrys Fey said...

I think we can notice subtle changes. At least I can see them in my loved ones and even in myself. That might be because I'm a writer, though, and pay attention. ;)

I don't think any of our perceptions of ourselves match how others see us. But it's our perception that matters the most.

Chrys Fey said...

I think we can notice subtle changes. At least I can see them in my loved ones and even in myself. That might be because I'm a writer, though, and pay attention. ;)

I don't think any of our perceptions of ourselves match how others see us. But it's our perception that matters the most.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - I probably change here at the blog level, and with people I've recently met via classes, talks etc ... I'd probably say my family think differently! More work to be done ... cheers Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

I think my own perceptions about myself are beginning to change. I have a lot more doubts these days. I don't come into contact with many others these days other than my family. I can't really say how other perceive me anymore but I feel like I'm treated the same as always.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

L. Diane Wolfe said...

As we begin to change, others will start to notice. But once we get to the point where we have a great self-image, that will project to everyone around us.

Suzanne Furness said...

I do wonder whether people perceive me the way I see myself. Interesting thoughts.

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting stuff! We had a conversation about this kind of thing a few weeks ago at work. Most people were shocked at how much social anxiety I feel, but I've worked hard on hiding that so I guess it's working! :)

Jack said...

I've been thinking some of the same things lately. About how easy it is to fall into a routine and forget that each day is different and full of changes. Sometimes we need to take a step back to see them

Liza said...

This provokes some thought...since I don't necessarily know what other people think of me...

Manzanita said...

Unfortunately, I believe most perceptions of someone are difficult to shake. Just
yesterday, my brother and I were discussing the same thing. A certain female, whose immediate family had a bit of a shady past, married into our family. My bother and I were talking about how some of our family members judged her by her family, although she was a sweet, hosest and gracious person. I guess one would call that, Judgement by Association, huh? We noticed it was difficult for porple to accept her for herself.

Manzanita said...

Too many typos in the above. Please excuse. I should read "before" I push publish. LOL

emaginette said...

I tend to believe that people see others through their assumptions. It explains prejudice, and a man seeing his wife years later as his young bride.

That said, don't give up on them. Maybe, its only a matter of time. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Stephanie Faris said...

That is a good point. I think it is tough to change the way people perceive us. Mostly, though, the only thing that really matters is how we feel and what we think. However, I do think that showing confidence can make a difference. You can try telling people and maybe turn it into a story of how you overcame your anxiety...and then they see it as an inspiration, not you feeling like you have to justify.

Denise Covey said...

Karen, it will take time. People know it's very hard to change, especially the habits of a lifetime, so add extra patience to your list. A positive start to the new year. I wish you every success. :-)