I have decided that perception should be a dirty word. If you think about it, it lives in the same family as judgement. We live in a world where the first thing someone does is form an opinion based on what they read, see or hear and decide they know all the facts and then immediately an opinion is formed. Now, nothing wrong with that, the human brain is meant to form opinions. Where this goes south, for so many and unfortunately it is mostly women(sorry ladies) is when we let what we perceive to know go dark and ugly and turn into judgement. Sometimes it’s passive judgement. You know the smile, the perfectly chosen words to sound nice, but its not, its full blown judging. Then there is just straight out, I know more than you, my perception is spot on, and I have no interest in hearing another point of view because I am better and smarter and my choices in life are so much better than what you over there are doing. If you stop and think for a minute we all know both types and we have all encountered both. Or even done both. Guilty. Not proud of it, but guilty for sure. And the truth is its not nice and its not ok. Simply put.
I always considered myself a totally confident person. After all I was in a huge leadership role, responsible for so much in a large business, I was a mom of 4, surely I was capable and fact is people said to me ALL the time I don’t know how you do it, you are Super Mom, you never miss a beat. I remember it well. The sentiments were kind and appreciated but it’s not at all how I felt inside. It’s what I felt I HAD to portray on the outside. After all, if I wasn’t all of those things, my life, OUR life, would fall apart, right? I had to be ALL things to ALL people ALL the time. And aside from the “I don’t know how you do it” comments there were the others. The ones “Judging.” The, wow she works so much. Wow, she’s never home or around the neighborhood. Wow, she’s always dressed nice. Wow, she’s not very friendly. Wow, her expectations are so high.
Here is what I have learned out of all of this from being on BOTH sides of this suburban life. I wasn’t that confident person I portrayed or even told myself I was. But I didn’t even know it. I had a story of my life, it was my perception and I believed it to be fully true. I had a lot of anxiety, a lot of fears and a lot of stress. We ALL tell ourselves bullshit stories and those stories become our reality. Over time and some soul searching and some self help work, I am literally writing a new story. One that has actually made me more raw, real, transparent and open to learning and growing. It’s freeing. I am finding it’s “easier” to address the judgers because I know that perception is simply just that, their perception. Perception does not make something real. None of us know, what we don’t know unless we allow ourselves the courtesy of listening and learning and growing. Once again, it is that simple. Maybe not easy, but it sure is simple.
Now, I LOVE social media. It is how I do business now, its how large corporations market business, its how we connect and reconnect with others. But a side effect of social media is it makes the perceiving and judging faster and easier than ever. And social media has only magnified the fact that majority of people care so damn much about what others think of them, their life, their choices that it stops them from not only living their very best life, but it also stops them from making needed changes that could benefit so many. I was that person. Even though I didn’t know I was, I certainly was. Over the last month I have thought so much about something my now ex husband said to me when he left. He said “you don’t really care that the marriage is over, you care what people are going to think.’ That stung, big time because of course I believed it wasn’t true. Well time yields perspective and turns out there was some truth in that statement after all and he was a little wiser than I gave him credit for on that one. I survived it, we all did and it helped me to learn a lot about the negative side effects of assuming my perceptions are spot on and that judging gets us nowhere and nowhere fast.
My wish, my dream, my passion is to help women stop the madness. Stop caring what others think of you. You only control you, your life, your dreams and your choices. There’s a big ole world out here waiting for you to share your greatness, to grow into the person you always dreamed you would be, to not just go through the motions and live for others and not for you. And for those of us raising children, I promise you that they need to see their powerful mamas get uncomfortable and take a stand. They want that. This generation does NOT think like those before them. They are onto us and our judging ways. Hats off to all the women making sure they don’t example that for their kids. As always, I, we all, are a work in progress. Learn before you judge. Most of the time the perceptions we have are so dead wrong. And if you must judge maybe practice keeping your judging to yourself. That’s simply practicing kindness.