Why We Perceive Others Differently

Musings on Our Perception of Others

If your perception of someone is based on a bad memory of them, you are basing your judgment of a person on a memory of a characteristic that you found intolerable at the time it was committed. Unfortunately, that memory is unlikely to be reliable.

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Think about your memories of others. Memories are interesting because we rely on them despite them being unreliable pieces of information. Most judge their own superiority over others based on fallible memories. Those that do think that they are better than others know very little about how fragile their minds and judgments about other people can be. Some criticism of a person is necessary but when you examine where that comes from, you quickly realize that it stems from preference and intuition rather than the strict unbiased calculation of the individual in question. We somehow manage to smuggle our own ego into everything. “I don’t like him because of the way they spoke to me.” “I don’t like her because she didn’t ask me anything about me.” “He never keeps in touch so why should I?” etc. Our perception of others is hindered by our own obsessive focus on ourselves. Needless to say, there’s problems with trusting our judgment if we primarily rely on our ego to evaluate persons.

The goal, then, is to restrict the negative speech of others. In other words, (1)Why should I judge others based on my own fallible perception of them? & (2) Why do I think that MY perception of others is a VALID assessment of them? Both questions suggest we’re entirely open to fallibility. The cure, as I see it for now, is to word everything in subjective awareness rather than objective reality. Instead of dismissing a person based on a perception you have of them, word things in a personal way. “I remember him as unpleasant but he could have been having a bad day.” “I probably just caught them at a bad time.” “He was rude to me but he could have thought that I was being rude to him first.” That could prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering.

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keep reflecting.

Author of “Up in the Air: Christianity, Atheism & the Global Problems of the 21st Century” on AMAZON | Exploring Ethical Living | IG: jakub.ferencik.official

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