Power and Perception

ReflectionI had lunch with an old friend today and we talked about our friendship - the hard parts and misunderstandings. We've had almost 25 years to make a lot of mistakes with each other, to be careless with words, to think the worst.

Of course, if that's all that we had, we wouldn't still be friends.

But today, it was the painful parts that had to be addressed.

When we'd finished talking, one thing was clear - perceptions are fascinating.


Two people can see the same thing completely differently.

Someone can see you in a way that is in complete opposition to the way you see yourself.

I've had many of these moments in the past six months and, when faced with the way I'm perceived, I'm stunned. This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, people see me as stronger and more powerful than I see myself. But, when they do, it's also easy for them to believe that I am acting from that power and easy to see my actions as hurtful or dismissive.

We often talk about the need to own our power so that we can accomplish what we want in our lives, so that we can claim our place. But, I'm learning that it also important to own our power so that we are more careful as we walk in the world.

My reflection in the mirror seems so clear and I feel so certain as to how others see me.

But maybe, it's more like that hot summer day when I sat on the dock on Oak Lake and stared into the water and saw my reflection. It was me, sure, but it was hazy and less defined.

And maybe that's how it is. Nothing we see is absolute.