Last night I had a thought provoking conversation with my dad. Somehow amongst our usual chitter chatter about my parent’s garden, what they had for dinner, general health and neighbours update, we started discussing how we perceive ourselves. I’m not sure my poor dad anticipated my launch into tearing apart human perception, but hey, I have no filter!
So ultimately, there dad was telling me that he had recently written to the Queen of England and Prince Charles regarding world poverty and how he was very happy to have received a reply and how polite this was of the Monarch. Yes, this is my dad. A man who gives a voice to those who don’t have one and a man who strives for human justice in many areas. In the next breath dad tells me what a shy person he actually is, and an introvert.
You can see here how my jaw dropped, yes?
It got me thinking about how we perceive ourselves versus how others perceive us. Prior to my ride across Europe and actually more specifically, prior to the organisation of this ride, I truly believed myself to be a physio who rode a bike. A person who had a degree in anatomy and the analysis of movement, and a person who enjoyed exercise within certain boundaries. I was someone who COULD NOT write a website, entice sponsors, inspire others, use excel particularly well, be organised, figure out a tax return, the list goes on. Having this perception of myself made my mountain that much higher when it came to planning the ride. Months later, turns out I was wrong. I had boxed myself in my own prison, I had set my own boundaries.
In my dad’s case, the perception he expressed of himself simply did not fit with my perception of him. When I speak to pretty much everyone I know be it a colleague, a friend, the same story remains. We place boundaries on ourselves, perceive ourselves as “not good enough”, not “attractive enough”, not “fit” or “clever” enough etc. And yet I don’t know about you, but I don’t see these things when I look at those I love and surround myself with. I see people for how they inspire me, how smart they are, how generous, kind and energetic. That is WHO they are. They exist in my life as the person I perceive, not who they think they are. I exist for you as you perceive me and if I am not perceived, who am I?
I can tell you who I want to be. I can sit in my little personal prison and dream about it. But it will not be real until I DO and BE something to be perceived.