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Perceptions

How can we be mad at someone for not knowing who we are when we don't even know who we are...?

March 6, 2019

The person staring back at me is not a person I recognize. It is not because of some huge significant change that made the person in pictures and mirrors a stranger. Not recognizing myself has been a reoccurring shock in my life, even when I was little. 

I’m not sure if others have this issue or not, but for those who do not understand, let me explain. Whenever I think of myself or have an interaction with someone, I picture myself a certain way. It feels so second nature, so clear that this person I am imagining is myself, but funny enough, the image is never clear enough for me to describe in instances like these. But I don’t envision how I actually look, so I carry myself in certain ways based on how I perceive myself. 

In many cases, people who think like this probably have a negative view of themselves. They don’t see themselves clearly and because of that they have a lot of self-worth problems and general angst. For me, though, I see myself in a better light. That’s the problem, though. I envision this better version of myself so whenever I see my reflection or a photo of myself, my confidence comes crashing down. I don’t recognize who I see in the mirror, and I don’t like what I see. Maybe I put myself on some sort of pedestal in my mind, my idea of myself is competing against reality.  

The shattering of the illusion I created of myself in those few moments when I acknowledge reality is what encourages my self-ridicule. It’s in these moments where my sarcasm and humor thrive, shielding myself from… myself.  

It is disarming to completely be blindsided by yourself. It makes me wonder, does anyone really know anyone? Does anyone really know themselves? We all have this image of each other in our heads, but does that really show who that person is?  

John Green wrote a book called “Paper Towns” and explained that the main character Quentin “Q” could not understand, and essentially find Margo because he had painted this picture in his head of this greater than life girl who could not have anything other than this awesome life. So, when he sees her in the hallway, his mind tells him that she is laughing, but in reality, Margo is crying because she found out some terrible news. Q couldn’t see Margo for who she is, which was just a normal teenage girl and not some greater specimen who was above them all. Margo had a hard time with people never seeing the real her and only seeing what they wanted to see, and that’s what I mean.

We perceive ourselves to be something else other than the reality, and yet, this ideal image is what we use as a driving force in our lives.”

We do not see each other for who we are, but rather we see by small and sometimes insignificant moments that do not accurately represent who we are. Margo even explains to Q in the movie that he can’t know who she is because she doesn’t even know who she is.  

It is crazy how perceptions are everything. We perceive ourselves to be something else other than the reality, and yet, this ideal image is what we use as a driving force in our lives. We perceive others to be something they are not, or not fully, and we condemn them in our minds as being nothing more than that. We have a very clouded vision and highly simplistic perception.  

We are not the people we see staring back at us. 

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