Not quite what I thought I was sitting down to blog about. Unconscious, you win this round. Hope it makes sense to you 🙂
When I was at uni doing a poetry paper I began struggling, and I couldn’t get my head around why. The idea when writing good poetry (I was told) is that you capture a moment as it is perceived by the speaker, and the language and techniques used to express that moment will convey the emotional centre of the poem.
It took me a long time to work out why I had such an issue trying to make this work for me. Eventually, long after the paper had finished and I had decided I was a crap poet, I realised it was because I was trying to write the perceptions that other people wanted the speaker to have, instead of writing it as I, or the speaker which is usually I (in my writing), perceived it.
Why did I try work out what they wanted to be perceived then try write with that perception to hopefully convey an emotion they would consider appropriate for the particular subject matter? In part I did this to, ‘give them the answer they want so I’ll pass well’ (the oldest trick in the book to passing, and it works in most cases, that is why I have a degree despite all the issues that were in my life then), and in part it was me not wanting to admit to myself, or those around me, that I perceived things differently–if my perceptions were known, people would know all these awful Truths about me and stop respecting me cos I was such a bad person.
I’ve come a looooong way since uni. Heh, thank goodness!
I’ve learned that I do actually perceive the world differently than others, and that that’s totally okay, because I’m not the same as everyone else. Neither are you, so your perceptions will be different too.
And I’ve learned a bigger fact about perceptions: they’re always changing.
My perceptions of the world and of myself are totally legitimate and they have a strong effect on how I behave and see myself. It’s the same with you. Perceptions come from experiences, so if you’ve lived with negative experiences, or if the negative experiences take your focus, your perceptions of the world and of yourself will be negative. Out of those experiences come perceptions like, ‘the world is measured in black and white,’ ‘I’m a bad person,’ ‘I never succeed,’ and, ‘I’m a crap poet.’
Learning more about myself and the world is changing my perceptions–I’m seeing the world and myself differently. I don’t believe any of those negative statements about myself anymore, though there are some perceptions that are taking longer to get away from (eg. I’m worthless, people are wasting their time when they invest it in me, and so on.). Changing perceptions isn’t a fast process, although EFT is making it much faster and my various psychologists have also given me massive boosts in the right directions.
I think an important thing to note about these negative perceptions of myself is that they have nothing to do with the TRUTH. I know, because I’m told by the people in my life that I am a worthwhile person. My perception doesn’t change the facts. I could look out at the sun and perceive that the sun revolves around the earth, but that doesn’t make it true; but when I educate myself, listen to others’ perceptions, and perhaps start to accept that it is possible that the earth revolves around the sun after all–and that the world is not out to make me miserable, too, while I’m at it–my perceptions start to change until I forget that I ever believed that the sun revolved around the earth, or I laugh at my uneducated self.
Another quick example on a smaller scale I just thought of is this: for the entirety of my relationship my husband loathed coffee. He hated kissing me after I’d been drinking it. He hated the smell of it in the kitchen. He always made comments about its foulness when I talked about it. Then, earlier in the year two things happened. I realised that my ‘exhaustion headaches’ I got were actually ‘coffee headaches’, and now when I do succumb to a coffee I can feel the headache set-in in the first ten minutes. And, my husband started drinking coffee. So now I make comments about how gross coffee is (in a wistful, I actually wish I could drink it, way), and he defends it saying it’s not gross.
Talk about total shifts in perception! And it happens all the time, about the most minuscule things.
What do these realisations about shifts in perception, and the actual perception shifts mean for me?
Now I get to be myself–more than that, I have a more accurate idea of who I am and I get to be myself, and because I know myself better I can behave genuinely and know that if I’m not accepted by others then that’s okay, because I actually don’t have to please everyone. Because: it means that I don’t have to be ashamed when I change my beliefs and opinions, as it’s a natural result of my perception shifting. It doesn’t mean that the world has changed, or even that my behaviour has changed, but just that my understanding of things has changed, often clarified, and then my behaviour may change in accordance to that if applicable.
It also means I finally understand what my lecturer was trying to explain when he said poetry is about the perception of the moment; it’s not about being factual, but of showing the Truth as it is for the speaker, a Truth that is totally legitimate because of where it came from, even if it is totally out of sync with everyone else’s reality.