Perception is a topic that has always intrigued me. Each individual will believe their opinion is correct because it’s what they see, or they choose to anyway. Who I think I am, may not be in accordance to what those around me see.
There is the me my family sees and within family, there are more layers such as parents, immediate family, and distant family. Then there are friends; best friends, childhood friends, acquaintances, classmates, and so on. There’s the me I think I am, there’s the many versions of me those around me think I am, and there’s the me I think others think I am. How well do I understand those around me and their biases?
If I were to consider my family for example, I can safely say that my parents’ perception of me is bias. The me they see, or they choose to see, is a variation of the angelic daughter, characterized by adjectives like smart, proper and blah blah. That’s the me they want, but what they get in reality is a variation. Sure, I am all those things in some capacity, but there are elements of my life they don’t know.
If I were to consider certain friends or acquaintances, what they perceive me to be will also be depend on factors such as the nature of the relationship, context and setting of the relationship, and most of all the length of the relationship. The me that they see can be characterized by adjectives such as bubbly, comedic, and a bit reckless. The version of me that my friends see is a bit more accurate to who I actually am, but even so, still different to the me I think I am.
It’s important to believe that what’s perceived might be vastly different than what’s understood. People chose what they want to see because it’s easier to see what they want. Even if you take the initiative to help them understand who you are or your understanding of yourself do not expect them to simply compromise their bias. It’s easier to frame the world around us and simplify it because it takes greater effort to not only acknowledge complexes but to accept them.
When I was in my high school English class we were all asked to describe one another using only one adjective. What the 20 something other kids in my class describes me as, was not the person I thought I was. I never knew they thought I was outgoing, kind, and most importantly, someone thought I was happy. The point is, I didn’t see myself as any of these adjectives at 16. It’s all about perspective.
Someone once said that “we are what we pretend to be.” Sure it might be difficult for you to convince them and for them to acknowledge who you are and what you want. Disregard their opinions and bias. In other words, fuck them and their perception. As long as you’re satisfied with who you are and who you understand yourself to be , their opinion is irrelevant.