Seeing The Person Behind Your Perception

Personally, it’s no secret that we all struggle with judging people based on minimal facts, and mostly appearance.

It’s easy for us to put people in our own self-constructed boxes so that we could interpret and understand them, and the world around us, in “black and white.”

It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate student, studying Interpersonal Communication, at Meredith College for me to realize what I was doing (and that was 5 years ago, geez)!!

You know…I grew up a certain way. I knew the world through the eyes of my parents for the first few years of my life, and interpreted the world as I experienced it.

Growing up, as we try to understand the world we live in, we take what people say about others to heart. It’s a “survival method.” We don’t want to instinctively put ourselves in harms way so we listen to others words as truth to protect and ready ourselves for the future.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

This is also where the media comes in whether it be social media, television, movies, books, news media, etc. We grow up watching, and reading, content and absorbing what is being presented to us in order to understand the world.

In time, we inherently believe it to be true, and it eventually becomes an instinctive judgment of the people we meet.

New people are pre-judged by what we have learned so far in our life. It’s sad to think that way, but is also helps us understand how far we still have to go in each of our own societies.

Questions we should be asking:

  1. How are all people presented in the content that is consumed by a majority of the public?
  2. What roles are they playing, and how are they interpreted based on our societies standards?
  3. In each of these roles, how are they economically presented?
  4. What is currently unbalanced in the media we consume today? Are there roles that are continuously given to certain sexes, races or identities?

Each of these questions are starter questions we should be asking ourselves as we consume content so we can recognize where our perceptions of the world come from.

We need to know the basis of our perceptions so we can see the person that exists behind our perception.

Understand this….if we are never introduced to new people, or experiences, we end up getting trapped in our own worlds, our own interpretations, and continue to put people in our self-constructed boxes without seeing them for who they truly are.

People are beautiful, and there is always something we can learn from each individual that we meet.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

And let me tell you something…I notice myself accidentally making a judgment on someone all the time: someone I have never even met, someone I have never sat down with to hear their story, someone I pass by on the street, someone I see in the store, someone I drive by on the road, etc.

I don’t ever want to be the person who never grows past my own perceptions. I want to understand people. I want to love them for who they are, and everything that makes them, them.

I know who I am, and I would want other people to take the time to get to know me.

What about you? Wouldn’t you feel the same way?

I hope, from now on, you take the time to realize where your perceptions may be rooted, and work past them so that you can see the real person that exists behind them.

Love,

Jennie Laureen

Your Value Minus Your Screen

You know what’s easy?

Sitting at home feeling motivated and encouraged by a few short videos, Instagram stories, and books.

And, for those few short seconds of reading or watching I feel uplifted, and I find a sense of motivation and self-worth.

But, that’s also the problem.

I could sit at home all day, much like every one does now-a-days, and just “scroll.” I could fill my head with whatever I wanted to feel “full,” to feel “loved,” to feel “distracted from the pain,” or to simply “feel something.”

We should be better than that.

We should know ourselves better than that.

When was the last time you stopped filling your head with the thoughts of others, sat down in a peaceful and distraction free space, to reflect on yourself? To ask yourself questions:

  1. Where am I right now?
  2. How do I feel right now?
  3. What’s important to me right now?
  4. Who do I love right now?
  5. Who am I right now?

We should believe in ourselves enough to take the time to self-discover, and believe in our own value.

We are valuable. You are valuable. I am valuable.

I can’t sit around all day long scrolling through endless pages of tik-toks, YouTube videos, newspapers articles, and google searches. Doing so only distracts me from taking the time for myself.

I deserve to know who I am and be confident in who I am.

You deserve to self-reflect on who you are without a million other people coming across your screen deciding for you. Sure, it’s okay to take in content and reflect on the words of others.

What is not okay is to be wholly distracted by them that you no longer know who you are. You simply become a product of the culture you consume.

The beauty of being a writer is this – I consistently take the time to pan out my own thoughts, to self-discover, and to get my feelings and emotions out on paper. I wish the same for many of you who may be struggling to find your own inner peace, and to truly understand that it is you who knows your own value.

Believe in who you are now, and who you will become. But, doing so will require you to sacrifice the time you spend on a screen, and to reflect on your own thoughts.

Put the phone down and ask yourself this: who am I right now in this moment?

Don’t think of the last video you watched, or anything you have consumed via a screen. Have your own thoughts.

Who. Are. You. Right. Now?

Love,

Jennie Laureen

Success is not defined by your career.

I have always been someone motivated and driven by my career results. I love the idea of working. I’m a bit of a workaholic, and I love it. 

Nothing wrong with being a working woman. I’m very passionate about what I do.

However, there are times when my career doesn’t always go the way that I plan it to. Which isn’t a bad thing. We should always look for the learning opportunity where we are currently planted. 

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated by my career outcomes. 

three women sitting beside table

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Success was once always defined by how well I performed at my job (or at school when that was applicable). If I was excelling and getting good remarks from my managers then I knew I was successful. Or, if I was handed a big project because there was so much trust for me to handle it, then I knew I was successful. Or, if I was consistently making A+ grades in all of my classes, then I knew I was successful. 

But what about the times when life kicks you? When you realize that you aren’t performing at 1000% all the time. Let’s face it….you can’t run at 1000% 100% of the time. It’s exhausting and burn-out happens.

I’m not saying you should be lazy at your job – always give your full effort and attention – but what happens when we define our success in the moments where we can’t give 1000% because…..

  • You are facing a family tragedy. 
  • You are struggling financially to pay your mortgage. 
  • Your credit card bill keeps rising instead of shrinking 
  • You just found out some terrible medical news. 
  • You start doubting your ability to be a good wife (or husband). 
  • Your kids aren’t living the life you taught them and are instead running away from it. 
  • You doubt your ability to lead because of what everyone is telling you. You let them inside your head. 
  • You are facing depression that you cannot pinpoint, and think it shouldn’t be this way. 
  • Your manager isn’t giving you the opportunities you deserve to show your 1000% dedication. 
  • etc etc etc…. and more.

It’s these small moments that seem to appear like mountains that frustrate our career. And the fact is – it WILL happen. At some point in our lives, one of the scenarios above (or others), will happen in our life.

sleeping woman in train at daytime

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Then we ask the question…am I successful? Turns out, in those moments, we typically say no.

Because our focus has shifted, but our attitude has not. 

Basically, we are kicking our selves while we are already down on the ground. We are allowing ourselves to live a rollercoaster ride. When our career is successful then we are successful, but when our career isn’t successful then we are failures. 

But, there is something we must know. Our attention, in these life moments, will shift from career-mode to survival-mode. Work will still be important to us, but in those moments we are trying to make it through.

Because of this, you may, at times, be distracted at work from these moments. You can’t tell me for those 8 -to 12 hours (shout out to the nurses) that you never once think about what’s going on at home or in your life.

(And this is where I tell managers to allow some grace to their staff who go through these life moments). 

It’s a season. But, in this season we need to REDEFINE success. Especially for us workaholics. 

I cannot allow my definition of success to come from my career. Some of it – sure – but not all of it. I don’t want to stay on that rollercoaster forever.

So, I’ve started making a list of things that I’ve accomplished that are outside of my career/school achievements. And, to be honest, life got a lot brighter because of it. 

Some of the items on my list include: 

  • I call my parents every day because I don’t live in the same town as them. I am proud of the relationship I have with them. I don’t ever want to get so caught up in life that I forget my rock – my family. One day they will pass away – I don’t want to regret “not pouring into” that relationship for the sake of my career focus. 
  • I have been dating a wonderful and amazing man for over 8 years and we are about to get married. We have built a beautiful platform for open communication for both the good and bad discussions that I feel like we can lean on for a healthy stable marriage. 
  • I ate well today. I had a full serving of vegetables and lean meats, and some fiber for fullness. I feel good today. 
  • I was able to sleep ALL through the night and get the rest I needed to feel recharged. 
  • I got to do the yoga I wanted to do in order to stretch out my muscles. My body deserved it. 
  • I wrote on my blog today. My outlet for my love of writing. 
  • I got to spend time with my close and personal friends last week and have a thousand laughs – my belly is full of happiness. 

It’s these smaller, more human-like, accomplishments that we should shift our attitude towards. Our focus has shifted from career to life, but our attitude still defines success in a career even when our focus isn’t there anymore. We have to shift both. 

three women sitting by the table having coffee and smiling

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And even if our career is going well for us how can we ever forget the life accomplishments that we face? 

We don’t live for our careers. It is a large part of our life and should gain our full attention and effort, but I can no longer base HOW I am doing in life FROM my career. There is much more to it than that.

40 hours (the typical work-week) out of 168 hours (a full week) is about 24% of our weekly schedule. 24% of our time is given to our career.

How can we forget about the other 76%? 

Yes, I know that out of that 168 hours roughly 33% is sleeping, but getting a good night’s rest IS an accomplishment because it has to do with our health. And, there is still 43% that still matters. Almost half.

I want you to evaluate your life and measure what matters to you. Make a list. Then detail how you would define success in those areas. 

It’s time we stop putting all of our “success” in our careers and start measuring the other 76%. 

This to do 1. Own today printed frame beside teal headset

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Cover Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash