Perception is the act of apprehending by the means of senses or wits. It is the approach our mind perceives from a given situation which could be different from reality. It distinguishes us from other individuals and living creatures. In psychology, perception refers to the different mental processes that we make use of to form impressions of other people and helps us draw conclusions out of these.
“I still remember the first day in my college when I judged my equals by the way they were dressed up. But in reality, how a particular person looks does not determine our relationship in the future. Good looks do not necessarily make that person good. Eventually, you start judging a person by the way they speak and present themselves.” Although we know very little about that particular person and meeting him/her for the first time makes us critical and sometimes condemnatory. Thus we say that what we may perceive might not be the reality. More the people, more the perceptions of the same situation. For example, an accident on the road may be a result of a collision between a car and a truck where the car was trying to save a little boy who crossing the road but witnesses may name it as a case of drunk driving or even something else.
I think perception could also depend on personal bias, our preconceived notions, intuitions, and expectations. This stereotyping and expectations could lead us to errors and misapprehension. I also believe, the perception of a person could also depend on his thinking capacity, knowledge and education. For example, an advertising poster may be perceived differently by a literate and illiterate. Also, looking at a painting we might not comprehend the viewpoint the artist is trying to convey. But if someone explains it we might begin to relate to the actual real meaning of the painting which was not understood before.
The major example today for a contrast between reality and perception in the media. Media uses its skills to manipulate the whole situation and present it in the form of an interesting story. They use their freedom and power to influence masses and make the people perceive it in the way they want.
Now I would like to share the following small incident that I experienced and shows that the perception may be different from the reality-
A new family got shifted in my neighbourhood which comprised of a middle aged couple and their daughter. As a good neighbour I thought it was my duty to be cordial to the new family and make them acquainted with the new surroundings. I went to meet them. The lady was sweet and welcomed me to their new house and acknowledged my concern for them. I met their daughter who was almost the same age as mine and was amiable too. As time went by, we became good friends. But her father was not at all of a pleasant nature. Eventually, even I developed extremely. I would always condemn him about his rude and arrogant nature. He would never be a part of the festivities and gatherings that took place. I never saw him smiling or being happy within the family also. I always thought of my friend who was so sweet to be unfortunate to have a father who was too stringent and rigid. Months passed by and then as his daughter and I got close enough to share our personal issues I got to know the reality. I got to know the reason for her father’s arrogance and their migration to the city. Her father was accused of fraud in his business by his partner which he had actually not committed. The result of this false allegation made him stay in jail for a couple of months too. This incident made him hard hearted and unemotional. He now distrusted everybody and was skeptical about everything the people around him did. She told me how fun loving and jovial her dad was earlier.
This made me feel miserable and regretful.After being aware of the reality I have always been good to him irrespective of his behaviour. Also, I wish all good luck to him in life.
I learned that as humans we always take in the negative aspect of the situation or the person concerned. The anxieties and fears have made us weak and forced us to be pessimistic. We should not draw conclusions out of anything without knowing the true background. We must be open-minded to observe the state of affairs without any prior comprehensions or expectations which deprives us of the truth.
To some extent, this incident did change my thinking and perception. I now believe that we should be tolerant and broad-minded. Also, we should not come to outcomes that easily without considering its consequences. Moreover, now I am unbiased while judging a person. I take quite some time to know the person irrespective of the physical characteristics. I try and have an optimistic approach in life.