I’ve always equated life to a movie–where GOD is the writer, director, editor, everything. We are merely actors playing a part. Our lives have been mapped out since before we were born. The Bible states that GOD knew us before we were in our mother’s womb. 

I could go a number of different directions with this, from trusting GOD and HIS plan, knowing that since HE viewed the beginning and the ending, HE knows what is best; to reaching our potential and playing our part exactly how it is meant to be played. 

But that is not where my mind is. It is literally on how we perceive things.

We have preconceived notions based on past experiences. We are jaded by our narrowmindedness. You do not think as I do. Even my siblings, though we had similar experiences, we do not react the same. A song, in particular, brings me a feeling I can’t describe. I don’t like the song, but I love the person I’m reminded of when I hear it. One of my siblings is repulsed by the song. The memories are too negative to embrace anything positive. I choose to change my reaction because I want to, and hope I did, forgive the person who loved this song. 

And still, I’m not where I want to go, but getting closer.

We all have acquaintances that are situational. Our churches, our jobs, our classes, and different organizations we join, we have our circle: our chosen people we keep close. Sometimes, we do not allow others to enter in our group. No real reason, we just like to keep it familiar. Like minded people. 

I am guilty of discounting someone just because. It could be a tone of voice, a stupid look, or nothing at all and I decide to stay away. Sometimes, really often, the case is a dumb misunderstanding. I have had people come to me and say “I never knew you were crazy like me, you always seem so put together.” My outside, like yours, is not necessarily what is on the inside. Sometimes I hide my crazy pretty well.

I have developed some of the strongest bonds over misunderstandings that, fortunately, were corrected. By the same token, I have missed out on some great friend prospects because of my notion that is not worth my time. 

I recently had a sit-down with someone I had completely written off. It was situational, meaning there was no one else for either of us to converse. And I learned something, or relearned something. There is more to the movie than just the cover. We won’t be besties, but I realized that what is portrayed on the outside, is a facade just the same as I am guilty of having. 

And we are prejudice. I don’t care what you say, you have the habit of forming an opinion before getting all the information. And people like to test you. They want to see just how far they can push you or want to try to shock you away from them just to judge you! (Judging works both ways)

Something about me: if I’ve ever loved you, I will always love you, but I might put some distance between us, especially if you violated some of my core values. 

And getting to my point of perception is a quote I’ve heard often but I do not know to whom the credit is due: “I was the same person before you learned I have a mental illness.” This is my focus right now. Nothing changed, why is my perception affected? If nothing really changed, and the person is the exact same, what causes me to have that often negative reaction? In the case of the sit down, I learned that this person has a world of emotion bursting to come out but for fear it won’t come. What I had discredited as a bitter, spiteful person, is one who is struggling to come to grips with changes and who feels to have been handed a raw deal. I can relate.

Preconceived notions do not have to be external. Recently, I learned I had a lump in my breast; not the left– I knew about that one, but the right, I had no idea it was there. I felt betrayed; like my body was keeping secrets from me. I was angry; but nothing had changed from five minutes prior to learning about the lump. It was already there and had been there for a time. My perspective changed; my outlook changed, but I was the same.

Why do we look at things differently when given new information? Sometimes it is a good thing to have a new or fresh point of view. You remove the filter, back up the camera and get a wide shot so you can see the big picture, clearly. But sometimes, that HDR shows all the blemishes. The harsh lighting shows all the wrinkles and laugh lines, crows feet and muffin tops we’d rather hide. But we have clarity. 

Accept the faults in others, and in yourself. As a matter of fact, don’t see them as faults. They are differences, that’s it. There are no two people exactly alike. That is amazing in and of itself, but the point is that the other person’s differences don’t take away from you. We are stars in our own movie; we take center stage of our production; other people are supporting characters to us, just as we are to them, but they, each and every one, have a unique gift to offer you. 

When we look back over our lives and see the production one last time, will we be filled with regret because we shunned another for a difference of opinion, or will we be satisfied that we loved our neighbor in spite of our differences? 

Don’t let your perception cloud your judgement. Be accepting of differences. We are all just acting to the best of our ability in a role that is literally our lives. 

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