1 October 2013

Perception, truth and haters

Perception is a funny thing.  But it is powerful.  Ridiculously powerful.  As are our truths.

And open to misinterpretation.  As are our truths. 

I’ve been pondering the subject in some depth for a while now since my psych asked me to consider why I give more brain space to people that don’t think I’m that great, rather than the people that do.  Why does the idea that people don’t like me or believe something that’s not true make me feel so physically ill and take control of my emotions with such crushing totality?  Somebody’s off-the-cuff remark can poleaxe me and ruin a day in a way from which I struggle to return.  And which I can rarely, properly, disregard. 

Part of me would suggest that those occasions in some way reinforce my own somewhat (ahem) negative self-imagery.  But she’d argue that I wasn't born that way.  Small people don’t come into the world thinking they are less than others.  That is learnt along the way.  And people with a strong sense of self aren't necessarily arrogant. Just confident.  I envy the buggers.

She’d also suggest, probably with a lot of hand gestures, that if I was driving a bus somewhere and one of the passengers started slapping me around the head and telling me what a crap driver I was, I’d put them off the bus so both I and the other passengers could travel in peace. 

But the passengers on the emotional bus seem to be a lot harder to kick off.  They start yelling about having rights too and demanding to speak to my manager.  And they keep trying to get on.  They’re persistent.  And for some reason when I visual them they always wear those straight brimmed trucker hats with terrible logos.    
And I know I'm also the manager.  I get the metaphor and I love the visualisation.  But… still.  As a manager dealing with difficult passengers – I totally suck.

Where there are people – there are different perceptions and different truths.  That is universal. 

There are people out there who don’t like me because they misinterpreted something I said and never gave me the opportunity to sort it out.  There are people out there who don’t like me because I was a bitch and either never noticed, or never made the effort to resolve it. There are people that don’t like me because they just don’t and nothing I can say or do will ever change that.  And there are people that don’t like me because our friendship existed in a period of their life they would rather forget. 

But there are people out there that do like me.  There are people out there who like me because I got it wrong and was able later on to get it right.  There are people out there that like me because I remind them of a period of their life which they will forever treasure.  There are people out there that like me and I will never know why and I thank the gods for them every day.  There are people out there who like me even though I got it wrong and never noticed who decided to let it go.  There are people out there that like me because I am nothing like them and people who like me because I am exactly like them.  And there are people out there who like me because I know the difference between there, their and they’re. 

All those people out there with a perception of me.  A truth about me.  Just one individual in a sea of seven billion yet over the years hundreds, thousands of people will have an opinion.  I am, we are all, powerful like that.

And I will just have to live with the very occasional reminders that some people hold on to “hatin’ on others” and I will never understand why. It will hurt especially if I don't understand it. But we all have villains in our life stories.  Sometimes they are our even our good selves and our insane emotional baggage. Other times they are other people. Sometimes, a bit of both. In some people's life stories - I am that villain even though I might not want to be nor did I mean to be.

As I have grown older (and gotten my therapy on in particular) I have re-learned that people believing something about me does not mean it is true. It may still burn but ultimately - in a life time we can’t please everybody despite our best intentions.  Even poor Mother Teresa had haters. And I think we can all agree that she was pretty high up in the ‘people who are really really lovely’ charts.

So much to think about and of course it’s important to draw a line under the thinking – come to a resolution as it were, find some peace on the topic.   

So my conclusion (drum roll) is that I give so much brain space to the “haters” because I am an idiot. 

My psych is going to so pleased. 


  1. Wow Al, I think you were channeling me when you wrote this. Well probably not but you could have been. I think a lot of us feel like this a lot of the time. Learning to put the haters off the bus and driving on is something that comes with age (aka a lot of experience) but is never easy to do.

    PS. I like you ;-)

  2. We are so like minded it seems! I waste so much time worrying what others might think of me, it can distract me from those who actually do think of me & like me for all my flaws & foibles! It is quite ridiculous really, but I still let it happen more than I'd like.
    So glad I am not the only idiot - that's therapy in itself. ;)
    Oh & I like you too - you're fabulous! xx

    1. Thanks Jodie - you are one of my favourite "take homes" of #pbevent :-) It's amazing how many of spend our time worrying when we should be focussing on our sheer fabulousness x

  3. From one idiot to another, stuff them! I have only met you once, but I thought you were lovely. That was my perception. One I will happily allow to take up some of your brain space :)

    1. And it will. I'm giving it priority space. Thanks for posting and I hope you enjoyed today's Tempus Two x