Perception vs. perspective

Dictionary.com defines perception as “a single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.” A good way to understand perception is to think of our self seeing something and making quick decisions about the general nature of what we are seeing. Let’s say someone set a coke can in front of us and asked us to describe it. We might say it is a round cylinder made of metal with curvy writing. Perception is based purely on what we perceive regardless of any present idiosyncrasies.

Perspective differs from perception in that perspective implies ownership of personal position regarding the subject. Perspective is defined as “the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship.” That’s just a fancy way of saying our perspective is what we decide it is based on what we have decided it to be. It is our way of thinking and looking at things.

While it is important to utilize both perception and perspective in their proper context, it is even more important to understand when that proper context arrives. Not all people are interested in our perspective when they are speaking with us, sometimes they are simply sharing information in a manner to validate the situation. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it is true. Not everyone is interested in whatever rhetorical statement we have in response to another human being verbally rationalizing their practices. Sometimes fellow human beings just want someone to listen to them. In which case it is more appropriate to focus to perception and how we can provide more supportive behavior to whomever it is we are speaking with.

Not everyone wants to be fixed, sometimes we just want to share information and digest it with another person. Here is an easy way to catch ourselves if we are putting our opinion were it might not belong. Ask yourself “was I asked to specifically provide my opinion?” How about “will my personal insight bring value to this other person’s life?” And most appropriately “is someone paying me money to tell them what I think about this?” If the answer is intrinsically no then perhaps sharing personal insight to another human’s issue might not be the most appropriate response. Sometimes its best to realize another human would like us to use proper perception and realize the value of our ear over our mouth.

You’re Welcome. Internet.

External Links:

Perception definition: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/perception

Perspective definition: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/perspective?s=t

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