“You stop explaining yourself when you realize people only understand from their level of perception.” - Jim Carrey
I’m going to do something a little different today. This time I’m not going to talk about relationships, I’m not going to talk about love, I’m not going to talk about moving on or closure or any of the usual stuff I normally like to write about. Today, I want to write about maybe the most important thing I’ve learned this year, and something I think might really help some people as we move forward into 2018.
Jim Carrey has gone through nothing short of enlightenment in recent years, and its been fascinating to follow the drastic ways in which he’s changed since his earlier years. Some believe he’s genuinely gone insane, but it’s actually very much the opposite. And it’s been so comforting lately to find my own thoughts and ideologies being talked about so freely and publicly by such a well known and celebrated figure.
There is so so much to discuss on the topic of spiritual and intellectual enlightenment, but in fear of saying too much at once, I want to start off small by just explaining this favourite quote of mine by Jim Carrey. I want to talk about perception, and why it’s such an important thing for people to understand about the set up of their own world and lives.
This isn’t a political blog, never has been and never will be. It’s rather the opposite, as I try to write about things that affect people on a purely human level, despite how much of our lives are governed by the nature of our modern societies and culture. Perception is one of those universal truths that affect each and every one of us every moment of every day, and fluidly shape the ways in which we see the people and the world around us.
The need for validation, popularity, acceptance, and celebrity is at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially in an age like today. Until quite recently, I was really image-oriented as well, spending a lot of time thinking about how my image might be perceived by others, and how I could frame and construct that image in the most desirable way. Of course I still think about these things, but my stance on social media and image has changed quite drastically in the past year. Where I used to be concerned with not only how to appear perfect to peers and people I looked up to, but how to be perfect as well, I’ve now realized that those things were much less about who I am, than about trying to fulfill the expectations other people had about who I am.
When we grant other people the power to shape who we are, we become nothing more than a collection of the perceptions other people form of us. We allow other people to shape our story, judge our person, form an opinion about our existence—and have each and every opinion somehow hold more weight than our existence holds itself. We allow our inner selves to become slave to the important things we mistakenly perceive to lie outside of us.
None of these things are novel ideas. For ages, people have been telling each other to “be themselves” and that “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”. But for many, this idea of embracing yourself can be quite difficult when you’ve come to a point where you actually have no clue who “you” are.
When you worry about the perceptions of others, not only are you trying to shape one perception of who you are, you’re really trying to shape the perception of every person that comes across your path. This is an impossible task, as every person will experience you completely differently, based entirely on the ways in which they view the world. Their beliefs about you will come from their own experiences and understanding, and the level of awareness through which they perceive themselves. When we try to please and impress others, even those we may love, we get trapped in this hamster wheel of a never-ending constructed and forced reality. And the deeper we get into the pain caused by this collective need for acceptance, the more we buy into it and contribute to it as a way of keeping up with ourselves.
We start to place more value on the perception of who we are than on who we actually are.
Something that’s started to free me in the past year, is finally grasping that I am never going to actually exist if I allow the value my existence to be dictated by the actions and minds of others.
To figure out who you really are without all the deceptive clutter generated by other people, maybe ask yourself questions about where your own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions come from. Try to get to the bottom of what thoughts are actually your own, so you can approach other people, too, with the same clarity and openness with which you wish to be approached.
We obviously hope everyone is working on bettering themselves the way we are, but once you accept that people will perceive you and themselves exactly as they will no matter what you do in an attempt to influence it, you stop feeling the need to explain yourself to each and every human you meet.
Suddenly you become free to discover exactly who you are... and then you can just go be that person. :)