Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perceptions

Too many avoid answering an important question that should help shape them. How am I perceived? The initial response to this is, “who cares,” but stick with me and you’ll see what I mean, what just hit me. Everyone has an image in their head of who they are. Most times people’s images are not correct because they focus on who they think they are than what or who they truly are. I just got off a conference call with my boss and think that I was getting a call from God instead. My boss is not God, but the points we spoke of brought a ton to the forefront of my mind and truly troubled my spirit. The main thought or question that was driven home was very simple, but still has me reeling, “Are you who you think/say you are?”

Are you who you think you are? Are you who you say you are?

I think before one can respond accurately one must define who they actually think they are. Reacting to this inquiry can be painful though. Everyone has an image in their head of who they are. The question I am painfully exploring is just calling my own self image responsible to my actions or words. People’s self images are not correct because they focus on who they think they are and not what or who they truly are. No attention is ever paid to the way they are perceived by external, unbiased minds. I just got off a conference call with my boss and think that I was getting a call from God instead. My boss is not God, of course, but the points we spoke of brought a ton to the forefront of my mind and truly troubled my spirit. Am I who I say I am?

I have had this attitude toward my job and people at my office for quite some time now. My manager is not in the office to hold me directly accountable to things that I abuse, like lunch time, daily work hours, or down time. The first problem is that I would probably act differently if he were here to hold me accountable. The truth reveals itself when no one is there to reinforce something. It goes back to a simple question, “If I steal and no one catches me, is it wrong?” I can easily answer that question as an adult. It is when this questions morphs into areas other than thievery that has me so messed up though. If my boss was in my office would I show up late to work regularly? If my boss was in my office would I call out sick when I truly just don’t feel like getting out of bed? If I didn’t have someone to ask me what I was reading would I read? If I didn’t have the majority of Christians breathing down my throat to remain sexually pure, would I be? If I truly did care about someone would I yell at them and point out all their flaws? Is it wrong to steal if you don’t get caught? This question is a lot harder to answer now at the age of 25 when it applies to more abstract life issues though.

All this came from me thinking about how I am at work, listening to feedback from my manager, and noticing unspoken communication from others. I’d like to think I am a great co-worker, reliable, and ahead of standard. The truth is revealed in my action though. I show up to work late regularly, complete my tasks without reaching out to others, call out sick at will, have a negative/apathetic tone towards others, and have been easily frustrated most recently. I’d say based on my actions alone, my perception of who I think I am has no validity. A person is exactly who they show they are through words and deeds. The challenge is manning up and comparing the two. Isn’t it much easier to live in a fantasy world and believe in something that doesn’t exist than face reality? Comparing reality with your perception of reality can be and is a difficult exercise. Stop worrying so little about how others perceive you, they see your actions and hear your words, they don’t see your heart. They base their perception of reality on external factors that truly reveal the heart. They have a much more logical argument than you do, your perception of who you think or who you’d like to be doesn’t hold a candle stick to what others see and think.

So I’ll ask again, are you who you say/think you are? Ouch, what a hard thing to face. I think I am in a better place because of it, a broken place, and an honest place. May you face reality, be broken, and honest with yourself and God.

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