It occurred to me recently that the phrase, “Perception is Reality,” can be applied to nearly every facet of our lives. I Googled the phrase just now, and could find no reliable answer as to its source. However, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon (a little mixed metaphor) to understand its meaning. More often than not, we see things as we wish them to be; and, in that sense, our perception truly becomes our reality. In effect, we become delusional.
The essence of this concept was driven home recently when I suffered my stroke. For years, I had been downing enormous quantities of candy (primarily of the milk chocolate persuasion), potato chips (preferably Lay’s™ with real, sour cream, onion dip), and assorted baked goods (mostly homemade carrot cake and store-bought German chocolate cake). I had convinced myself that the extra weight I was putting on was due to my advancing age, and had nothing to do with my culinary overindulgence. However, it did seem strange that no matter how much I exercised, no weight—not one single gram—ever left my body.
Perhaps it was my metabolism, I thought, seeking the answer to the question that seemed determined to elude my analytical thinking process: why wasn’t I losing weight? All the mirrors in my house were of poor quality, so they couldn’t be relied upon. According to their reflections, I looked to be in great shape. And I was convinced that the repeated washing of my clothes (particularly the pants) was no doubt causing them to shrink—especially around my waist.
As you (and I) now know, my perception had become my reality. I was unable to see anything other than what I wanted to see. It took a stroke—albeit a minor one—to finally convince me to open my eyes, and really see (and it wasn’t pretty). But I’m a new man now (honest injun!). There’s a lot less of me—sixteen pounds, to be precise. And that metabolism thing? Fugeddaboutit! I’m walking an average of two miles per day, as fast as I can. Gone is the perception that I can eat anything I want and still be healthy. That reality is history—along with salty snacks, chocolate, and baked goods. There’s only one reality now; it’s called a modified Mediterranean diet and regular exercise. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, quinoa (look it up!), and salmon are my new friends. Graham crackers, raw almonds, and yogurt are my snacks, and a Fitbit™ has replaced the watch on my wrist.
The reality is I have a wife, four adult children, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter, all of whom love me—and I have a lot of living to do. Trust me, that’s no perception! I hope you are fortunate enough not to let your perception become your reality—unless, of course, the mirrors in your house reflect a true representation of what’s in front of them. In that case, let’s talk about our favorite sports teams . . .