Self Perception

Our self perception determines our behavior - if we think we are inadequate, we act that way. If we think we are splendid, we act that way.

The pathway forward towards happiness and authenticity is not determined by something outside ourselves. It’s determined by our own thinking, our own inner process, our self perception.

So if our way forward feels blocked, it is blocked by the way we perceive ourselves, by our fears and how they cause us to act toward ourselves. We take forward with us our unhealed inner negative perceptions and recreate the same situations over and over.

self perception

We are stopped by what we think our needs are - what we think we want and by all the means we employ to try to escape from our fears and self hatred.

We are stopped by thinking that if we work towards a degree, find a better job, marry this person, attend this class, try out this new way, buy these new possessions, earn this much more money, begin yet another new project – that we will find our way.

We are stopped by our lack of compassion for ourselves, by our self loathing. It is fear that creates this self perception.

Shifts in self perception

It was Jung who said that the process of becoming a person begins with a mess – most of us don’t have to look far to find that mess.

When left to our own devices, we instinctively respond to our messes from fear rather than love. This means that we spiral more deeply downwards into the point of fear, until the day our circumstances bring us to a standstill and therefore open the way for a turning point.

self perception

What have been the messes in your life that have led you to a turning point?

What deeply held fears have been exploded by your allowing the light to shine on them and creating a shift in perception?

What have your turning points been?

Shifts in self perception through darkness

For me it was grief.....

Such deep grief that it caused a very painful restructuring of my inner self – forcing me to change my life, my values, and my beliefs.

The depth of this suffering pushed me into the fire, an emptying, clearing, cleaning, burning, pruning and purging of everything I held dear – a breaking apart of the fixed assumptions of my life – a self confrontation of my own inner darkness.

self perception

I believe that plunging into this darkness allows us to become more fully our true selves.

By experiencing the black darkness we open ourselves into the possibility of light. This descent into darkness gives us more substance, makes us more human.

When this darkness takes us and brings us to our knees – that is when surrender becomes not just a possibility but a necessity – the way to bring us to a shift in self perception that enables a full expression of our highest being – our authentic self.

Shifts in self perception through surrender

To discover your authentic self is to be born into yourself again.

Our authentic self is deep within us in our childlike innocence. When we surrender, we surrender into that innocence which is pure love.

self perception

Surrender is not weakness or loss – it is powerful nonresistance. It is the whole notion of giving up our attachment to outcomes and results. This is a very fearful position to be in - the idea of giving up into the unknown.

I guess that’s why it takes brokenness to allow these perception shifts to take place. The act of breaking up, or breaking down, actually becomes being broken open, and with that comes freedom.


It’s just that when we surrender we give ourselves over to a natural ordered universe – and it feels like a homecoming!

In Zen Buddhism there is a teaching about self perception, called zen mind or beginners mind. The concept here is of the mind being like a bowl – if it is already full then there is no room to receive anything else.

A common story which illustrates this principle is told about a high minded man who comes to visit a monk, seeking to achieve enlightenment.

self perception
The monk hands the man a cup and begins to pour tea into it. As the cup fills, the tea splashes out, soaking the man’s feet and the floor.

The startled man asks the monk what he thinks he’s doing.

The monk replies that this cup is just like the man’s mind. Because it is already filled with his own ideas, there is no room for anything more unless he empties it first.

This is a story about the need for surrender, or of ‘taking refuge’, which is the Buddhist concept for surrender of the self.

In Hindu teachings, the idea of detachment and sacrifice go hand in hand with self-surrender and teachings about karma, while the root of the word Islam literally means surrender.

The Christian teaching talks about the need to ‘come as children’ – to be childlike - in order to receive. The inference here is that children are open to teaching; whereas we have already filled our minds with what we want to believe.

Surrender is about letting go control, letting go attachment to results and outcomes.

It is about giving in to love instead of fear – it is about letting go and becoming stronger not about letting go and falling.

It is about accepting ourselves where we are now, in this present moment, experiencing a shift in our self perception, rather than waiting until we are more.

The greatest way to change our self is to allow a change in our self perception.

The greatest way to change our world is to change our perceptions about the world.

The greatest way for this change to come about is through a change in our self beliefs.

We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them

~ Epictetus

The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same

~ Carlos Castenado

Projection makes perception

~ Marianne Williamson

The greatest stock market you can invest in is yourself. Finding this truth is better than finding a gold mine

~ Byron Katie

Facing our Fears
Read here about what's behind the masks we wear and how to go about facing our fears.

What is Our Self Identity?
Within us all lies the deep yearning to know and to be known. From this comes the question of self identity, who am I? This question lies at the root of all searching on the journey towards meaning and purpose for our lives.

From Self Perception back to Homepage
Until you make the unconscious conscious,

it will direct your life and you will call it fate ~
Carl Jung

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