When a Perception is a Misconception

It’s fair to say we may not always see things exactly the way they are. Any amount of emotion whether it’s resentment, stress, or happiness (to name a few) can easily skew reality.  If never remedied, it could lead to false perceptions and behavioral patterns that may affect relationships at work, in romance or with family and friends.

Just the other night, a friend was beating herself up emotionally. After a full day of unwelcoming events, she felt rejected and was convinced she was simply unattractive and unwanted. After a quick analysis, we concluded her day had very little (almost nothing) to do with her attractiveness and more to do with the buildup of circumstances.

The next day she reviewed our work and realized how silly things seemed. The ridiculousness ceased. 

I, myself, have been guilty to falling into unhealthy misconceptions. Fortunately, I was self-aware enough to question some. I took on a self-experimentation to confirm my judgement and course correct, if applicable. Here were three:

Perception 1

Like my girlfriend and many others, I heard myself telling someone after a break up in 2015 that I was undateable. I was convinced I must be a difficult person to be with. How could I still be single, right?

Behavior Log: In my phone’s notes, I jotted down everyone I met the year before and abbreviated outcomes: DM (Dumped Me), DH (Dumped Him) or M (Mutual). I was shocked to realize I was notorious for ending or sabotaging 80% of my dating/relationships. I was the opposite of what I thought of myself.

Takeaway: I was feeling low from a recent relationship at that time.  I was in a pity party. I began reevaluating the root cause of my dating decisions. I also learned to be less picky.

Perception 2

I avoid certain social situations in fear of encountering an uncomfortable or negative experience (i.e. running into an ex, being asked questions I’m not ready for, seeing a frenemy) – a source of my anxiety.

Behavior Log: Every time I had anxiety about a situation or person, I noted in one line the negative anticipation along with the actual outcome: positive or negative. Once I had a list to compare, I realized that I was having anxiety over something that rarely, if ever, happened.

Takeaway: I was holding on to uncomfortable feelings I may have experienced some time ago. I was overlooking the overwhelming number of positive outcomes. I started to challenge this more and learned how much my own mis-perception was dictating an unnecessary behavior and limiting me.

Perception 3

Before Austin, I was in a relationship that I thought was great. Yes, he had a short fuse, we fought, I would cry, but he apologized when he was wrong and he was so good to me all other times. That’s what mattered, right?

Behavior Log: I listed when I saw him and the outcome, fight or peace. I also included the (abbreviated) cause of any issues and its effects on me. Fighting was regular. I was overly stressed and emotionally worn. I wasn’t comfortable being myself. We never got along.

Takeaway: I was in an emotionally abusive relationship where I was manipulated to think this was OK. To this day, I take note when I start seeing extreme or uncomfortable behaviors in dating.

Data Does Not Lie

The behavior log, an approach known as “Logging”, is an effective tool that anyone can do at any time. This can be done in your phone’s notes. It’s an easy, quick process. All the above experiences took a matter of couple of minutes to jot down, usually less.

While you’re out for the long weekend, #payattention to yourself and what you’re doing. There may be some behaviors you do based off a false idea you have of yourself or someone else. #Logging is a simple action that can improve things all around for yourself and everyone around.

‘Til Next, Elisa
#logging #payattention #perceptionisreality

Ps. Remember not to be hard on yourself – make that a goal.

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