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Working at Outdoor Cafe

Embracing Authenticity on the Path to Purpose

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

a smiling black woman in a blue suit

A few weeks ago, I texted this statement to a group of people close to me. It said: "I've learned over the years that if you start listening to people's perception of you, you will start believing it."

This statement came from a negative comment that a family member made about the way I lead my life. At the time, I didn't say anything but it led me to a dark hole of overthinking and almost believing her perception. However, it made me think about how other people's perception could taint our dreams, goals, and even the simple decisions in our life such as a major haircut or a job opportunity.

The definition of perception, according to google dictionary, is a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression. We all interpret things in different ways but when it comes to human beings, we tend to interpret someone's character before we even understand them, or better yet, get to know each other. It reminds me of car rearview mirrors which indicate that objects are closer than they appear to be. We are more alike than we give each other credit for, yet we are slow to practice grace.

Someone's negative perception of another person can make you miss out on a great friendship or a romantic relationship. You've already made up your mind about what you think the person is about, when we never truly know what people are going through.

I've been guilty of doing this myself. Recently, I connected with a new friend who was really honest about her perception of me. We ran in similar circles and she wasn't sure what to make of me, based on who I was related to. She had been burned too many times and her experiences left her on high alert. I appreciated her honesty and our friendship has grown from superficial to real, and raw conversations.

Perception is interesting. I hope that it doesn't stop you from walking toward your purpose.

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