Three examples of negative perceptions and how to defeat them
Reality is perception and there are three forms of perception: what we perceive, what others perceive and what the soul perceives. You may already be wondering: What is the difference between the first and the last? Well, the first is a matter of the mind, and the first focus of this discussion, while the last is the desire of the heart. From wondering, now you are probably already aware that we can, and we must create our own reality from perception and that is the second focus of this discussion.
Fear is perception:
Fear has been defined as an acronym for: False Evidence Appearing Real. This means that fear as a reality is first, only in appearance and secondly, is perception derived from falsity. Let us look at some examples.
Fear of failure:
More often than not, fear of failure is a result of childhood memories. If a person was criticized, ridiculed or even chastised in childhood for mistakes made, that person will, in adulthood, be afraid of making mistakes or – even worse – trying.
To fight this fear, the brain must be reprogrammed.
The subconscious is a repository of all the information fed to it: true, false, right, wrong, biased, distorted, it retains all. Furthermore, it does not analyze or assess the information it receives. As far as the subconscious is concerned, it is all reality.
Begin by accepting that mistakes are not an indicator for evil. You are not a bad person because you make, and even made, mistakes. As a matter of fact, the opposite is the case: Nobody cares. Nobody is out there calculating how many and how often you make mistakes. As Michael Jordan once said, "It is alright to make mistakes. What is inexcusable is to not try at all".
Are you trying? That is what matters.
Fear of criticism:
This can also have its roots in childhood. If a person was constantly criticized or not appreciated in childhood, there may be a spillover into adulthood in perceptions of imminent criticism. Again, this may be no more than perception. This perception may show in certain behaviors.
Perfectionists are a good example. Because of constant criticism or not being appreciated, they believe they have to prove themselves – either through performance or perfection in order to be accepted or appreciated. Perfectionism is not good because it leads to over-self-criticism
Excessive self-criticism is also debilitating and perfectionists cannot be good enough.
The remedy is to accept yourself for who you are, not what you perform. This is where faith and spirituality are helpful because people of faith believe that God accepts them for what they are and in spite of what they have not accomplished.
If God accepts us, that is all that matters. But we would also want to associate with people who have God's mind, who accept us for who we are. Get connected to people like that, they are in every small and big town. They will be part of your affirmation and you will overcome fear.
Fear of intimacy:
Intimacy, openness, transparency; these are all related and they are rooted in trust. We can be open and transparent only to people we trust. Again, in spirituality and in faith, this is familiar because we know that we need to develop trust in God in order to truly be intimate with God.
Because of betrayal in relationships some people find it difficult or are even unable to trust others. That fear of betrayal prevails, rooted in the subconscious, that nobody can be trusted. It is this fear which breeds isolationism and individualism, two very destructive behaviors in our society today.
As human beings we need one another. We are social beings intended to compliment one another. In my writing, for example, I rely on so many people, for ideas and even more importantly, for inspiration and encouragement. This can only come from trust; believing in someone else and vice versa.
It is not true that everyone will betray us. The first step, therefore, is to purge from the subconscious the perception that everyone will betray our trust. There are plenty of trustworthy people out there who are willing to be taken into confidence.
Start building relationships with people who believe in you, encourage and inspire you. You can begin with your church community, a bible study group or positive and non-judgmental friends. Let go of suspicions and be open. You have probably noticed that whenever any individual is honored for some achievement, they always acknowledge the contribution – or, indeed – the influence of other people in their success.
Finally, learn to trust yourself. It is from there that you can trust God and trust others also.
Shame is the second element of perception and which weighs heavily on many people. Like fear, shame is also rooted in the past, both in childhood and also in adulthood.
The most common source of shame is abuse in the past. Looking back, victims of abuse ask themselves why? Why they were abused, why they – or the perpetrator or anybody else did not stop it, Without help, many see themselves as the source or reason for their victimization. It is in their subconscious that they provoked the abuse, they deserved it, and it was their fault they did not stop it.
It is this mindset that breeds shame.
The best cure – possibly the only one – is to change the mindset. This must be done in the subconscious. Victims did not initiate nor invite the abuse. They must learn not to blame themselves for the evils of the perpetrators. They must learn to see themselves as normal and ordinary people whose bad experiences could have befallen anybody.
They need to learn to turn the shame away from themselves to the perpetrators.
The second source of shame is genuine past mistakes.
Unfortunately, there are people who still carry their past on their backs and in their hearts. Divorce, addictions and past moral or ethical failures often haunt many people for years after until they find help. These haunts manifest themselves in shame.
I can only reiterate important lessons I have discussed elsewhere: First, somebody said, "Give up any hope of a better past".What happened, happened; you can only learn from it and move on; being ashamed or remorse will not change it.
The second lesson is: "Live without regrets". This is really just another way of saying live and enjoy the present. Do not spoil the joy and opportunities of living today with the misery of past experiences. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "I could not, at my age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived".Make this "any age" not just Eleanor's age.
Shame will make you look on as life goes by.
Lack of self confidence:
This is the third in the cycle of negative elements of perception. Lack of self confidence is a result of the perception that one is not good enough. Some people were told when they were growing up that they could not amount to anything.
Those who believed it have a problem with self confidence. The remedy is exactly what others did to fight what they were told. There is the famous story of Dolly Parton announcing to her graduating class that she would go to Nashville and be a star. The class burst out laughing! For a moment she was gripped with embarrassment for daring to make such an audacious dream.
She could have had that embarrassing moment deposited permanently into her subconscious mind and live the rest of her life afraid of trying anything. Instead, she turned the embarrassment into determination. Shame never became a reality for her.
Let me just share some words of wisdom from two great individuals on this subject of confidence: Norman Vincent Peale: "Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy". The following came from Thomas Edison: "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves". Lack of self confidence is the main reason we do not do a lot of what we could do.
In conclusion, reality is what you create it to be. Often there are perceptions handed down as reality which are in fact not. Fear, shame and lack of self confidence are among the major perceptions which can be debilitating even though they are simply perceptions. They need not be accepted as reality, indeed, they can and should be defeated.