The impact that perception has on our life and our overall experience is a concept that continues to be investigated and studied. Perception is the neurophysiological process, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets information. Perception is present in both humans and animals. Yet, there is a profound influence on the human brain and its life experience. Our brains communicate and interpret our world through language and symbolism, and every interaction creates a perception from that experience.
“The more we accept ourselves, the better prepared we are to take responsibility in all areas of our lives.” -Bell Hooks
The conversation around the relationship between perception and culture should continue to evolve. Topics like representation take the floor in the discussion of perception for the BIPOC community. However, this conversation should go much further than just visual messaging. How perception influences one’s self-talk should also be considered. Since childhood, our self-perception has been developing, creating ideas, perspectives, and rationalized truths about who we are versus who we are becoming. “Creating a false self to mask fears and insecurities has become so common that many of us forget who we are and what we feel underneath the pretense (Hooks, 2001).” In most cases, the root of what we feel goes back to childhood experiences that created perceptions, inducing the fear of being honest with ourselves and the world we’ve experienced.
Self-Talk & Self-Healing
Self-talk is a reflection of how a person perceives themselves and the world. It’s not uncommon to use affirmations when evolving self-perception. In 2009, a health psychology study for the American Psychological Association, found that affirmations positively impacted the perceptions in medical patients with life-threatening diagnoses and increased their intentions to take precautions. The study discussed how self-affirmation reduced defensiveness in participants and promoted positive behavior due to the shift in perception (Das, 2009). “Every day we practice this shape-shifting to cope with realities we cannot easily change (Hooks, 2001).” To create a positive perception of life, we must take responsibility for ourselves. This means facing barriers while still affirming that we can create our lives and shape our path in ways that support our mental and emotional well-being.
So how can we affirm the wounded parts of our perception? Through reflection and acceptance, we can validate the wounded parts within our minds and emotions. Reflection supports our ability to send love to ourselves and who we used to be. In those moments, we are given an opportunity to accept the past and release its impact on our present view of self. We can then begin the journey of developing the language that supports this new perception. We learn to quiet the judgmental voice inside that would judge ourselves and others. We begin to replace our negative thinking with positive thinking, bringing clarity to our innate authenticity. “The more we accept ourselves, the better prepared we are to take responsibility in all areas of our lives.” Having a positive perception of ourselves creates self-esteem that fuels our passion and ability to take action on our aspirations.
To live purposely, we must speak purposefully. It is our words that transform the mind. When we talk to ourselves with love, we renew our spirit and nurture our personal growth. These are the effects of self-care and self-love. As our perception of ourselves evolves, so does our world around us and the opportunities that align along the way. Trust in the power of perception, and remember that your life reflects how you perceive yourself.