Tonight I'm thinking about perceptions. Years ago I did communication workshops about it. I'd start the workshop showing a handful of pictures from ads and magazine stories minus the text that went with them. Two of the images were perceived incorrectly by every workshop attendee. The one was a close up of a young woman's face. Her hair was wet and she was holding an ice cube to her bottom lip. The other showed two black children cuddled together in a living room with a shadow of a man in the doorway which led to the kitchen.
Now, these workshops were held for volunteers who were preparing to work hotlines, women shelters, and other crisis intervention programs. So, I admit that they were a bit set up to seek trouble. But, that was my point. Even when we see it with our own eyes, it may not be what we believe it to be.
The woman with the wet hair and ice cube was in a health magazine story about ways to keep your lips healthy. Most believed she had been beaten.
The story with the black children was about Habitat for Humanity and the shadowy figure was their dad who was making their dreams come true. Most thought the children were in danger.
We can be so very wrong about what we are seeing if we do not have all the "text" to go with the story.
It's the text and the full context that makes all the difference.
And so it is with our perceptions of ourselves. The greater context of our existence provides the greater truth. If we isolate ourselves, find ourselves in great conflict with outer voices, or otherwise discover that our self perception and our external audiences perception is different, we are probably missing the truth.