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Perception Deception: Thinking Something Doesn’t Make It True


Self-dissatisfaction is based on our perception or view of ourself, a view that is riddled with memories, and assumptions about our personality, appearance, and what others think of us.

There are very few people free from negative self-perceptions, but one thing we can all learn to do is question our views—it helps us sort out fact from fiction. Doing this, we discover that much of what we take as truth is actually a story we have come to believe.

Here are some quotes that poignantly remind us not to believe something just because we perceive or think it.

Look With Curiosity Instead of Fear

“We do not deal much in facts when we are contemplating ourselves.” ~ Mark Twain.

”I discovered that the story has a voice. You can call it ‘thinking’ if you want. I call it “the voice of knowledge” because it’s telling you everything you never stops. It’s not even real, but you hear it. You can say, “Well, it’s me. I’m the one who is talking.” But if you are the voice that is talking, then who is listening?” ~ Miguel Ruiz, The Voice of Knowledge

“What is the ‘you’ you might or might not look like? Where is your authentic body? You are the only one who can never see yourself except as an image; you never see your eyes unless they are dulled by the gaze they rest upon the mirror or the lens...”
~ Roland Barthes

“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.” ~ Saadi

“What do you mean, Phib?” asked Miss Squeers, looking in her own little glass, where like most of us, she saw - not herself, but the reflection of some pleasant image in her own brain.” ~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

“Anita Johnson, Ph.D...taught me to look in the mirror with curiosity rather than fear. So I look at my reflection and think, ‘That’s interesting. I wonder why my body seems bigger today than it did yesterday. Maybe it’s water weight. Maybe it’s my outfit. Or maybe my eyes are just playing tricks on me.’ “ ~ Jenni Schaefer, Goodbye Mr. Ed, Hello Me

“Who people think they are and what people think they want is not really who they are or what they want.” ~ Laurie Frankel, Goodbye for Now

“Compulsive is indeed the best adjective for the false self. It points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation. Who am I? I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated, or despised...the compulsion manifests itself in the lurking fear of failure and the steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same - more work, more money, more friends.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.” ~ Virginia Satir

“Almost all our misfortunes in life come from the wrong notions we have about the things that happen to us.” ~ Stendhal

Photo credit: Edward Webb (@flickr)