Perception of Events Can Alter Your Attitude

perceptionOne of the most important ideas I have realized over the past years as a counselor and that I find myself relating to almost all my clients is about our perceptions of events.  When things happen, we must realize that we CHOOSE what they mean to us.  This then leads to our feelings about those events.  They have NO intrinsic meaning, but we attach our perspectives to them.  If I choose to have a different attitude about what happens to me, I can alter my feelings and behaviors about them.

There IS one rule.

The changed meaning I choose must be true and applicable to the event.  If someone pulls in front of me on the highway and I conclude that person is a jerk, then I am angry.  If I think, “he probably didn’t see me and it was an accident,” I am likely to feel more neutral, but if he gestured and looked at me as he was passing, I can’t look at it that way.  I CAN choose many alternative perceptions anyway, like, “maybe he’s running late,” or “maybe he’s having a bad day,” or any number of other viewpoints.  The point is that my perception leads me to my feelings, not the actual event.  It would be great if we took a look at our attitudes and perceptions about the events in our lives to find different ways to approach them.

By Ron Deage
Clinical Director at A Turning Point

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