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  • Rosanne Bostonian

Selective Perception

young Female activist leading a protest for their civil rights

Perception organizes what we experience and gives it meaning.  The diversity of human perception is the result of our different experiences influencing how we interpret the world. We get locked into our unique interpretations unless we can be flexible and open-minded.  The problem is we SO want to be right! Being right means we are in control and nothing bad will happen to us or those we love.  

Curiosity helps a lot! Opening the portal to perception allows us to listen to diversity with kindness and interest. We may disagree, but wanting to be right at all costs escalates disagreement into conflict.  “I want to be right, so that makes you have to be wrong.”  This is a fear-based way of living. Biologically and cognitively, anger and aggression are the armor that protects vulnerability. When we feel fearful (“I may be wrong, so not in control of my world”) we become tribal and rally the troops that agree with our perceptions. This tribe finds the enemy, defined as “those who don’t agree and so threaten us” and we see the result in the news daily.

Is it those who don’t agree politically, those who migrate over the borders, those who don’t look like me, those whose beliefs are different? Whomever the “other” is, they will be the focus of selective perception.  The more change we experience, the less control we feel and the more tribal we become. The solution is to view this turmoil from a place of curiosity and compassion. “What is trying to happen? What is my role in a higher purpose?”  When we fear for ourselves, the greater good is lost. We become more and more fearful and more and more aggressive.  This feeds the cycle of fear and aggression.

As fast as we think we need to move to keep up, the paradox is to slow down and consider.  If you are reading this, maybe you have taken a few moments to do so.

With love, Rosanne


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