How Perceptions Shape Our Lives – ‘The Jerk’

fire, angry perceptions

How Our Perceptions Shape Our Lives

If our perceptions are shaded and dark, we will see that darkness in all that we experience.
Perceptions…  I’ll be honest.  I was already angry when I pulled up to the intersection.  I had been encountering a lot of obnoxious people lately, so today I had my Dirty Harry boots on, and I was ready for someone to make my day.

As fate would have it, a real jerk pulled up on the other side of the intersection.  When our eyes met, he set the stage for his own demise by not looking away after the customary 1.5 seconds of eye contact.

Being a Christian, I graciously extending him a couple extra seconds of leniency, but my blood pressure nearly ruptured an artery when he still didn’t look away even after I leaned forward in a level 2 Car Confrontation Escalation (CCE).

In fact, he had the audacity to roll down the window in a Level 3 CCE. (These escalations are well documented in my upcoming manual called Rules for Everything).  I immediately retaliated by raising my arms in a level 4, “You want some of this?” gesture.  The light had changed, cars were moving, and there was a chance this slime ball would get away.

I didn’t wait for his response.  I continued the escalation to a level 5 by mouthing the words, “You got a problem?”

When he didn’t respond, I knew that this Goliath of a bully had met his match.  In a final death blow, I went all the way to a level 6 and hit the brake lights while looking in the rear view mirror.

Our perceptions are the eyeglasses through which we see the world.
I won’t lie.  Part of me wanted him to stop.  I was so angry at all the stupidity in the world that I was ready to be an agent of change.  I was ready to rid the world of rudeness even if I had to beat it out of one person at a time.

He didn’t stop though.  In fact, he just kept on going as if nothing had happened.  Almost instantly, the creeping suspicion entered my mind that just maybe this scenario hadn’t been exactly as I had perceived it.

As I slowly replayed the events in my mind, I had to acknowledge that his response to my ‘You got a problem?’ taunt did look a little more quizzical than it did tyrannical.  Plus, he sort of had that, ‘I just woke up and I’m staring straight ahead like a zombie’ look.

Like a slap in the face, I had one of those humbling moments where I realized that I was the one who had just been the jerk.  His perceived rudeness was merely a projection of my own.  I’ve found that in life, we usually find the types of people that we are looking for.

In a very literal sense, our perceptions shape our lives.  What we choose to see in the world is what we will experience.  Through our perceptions, we project  of our own hearts onto everything we experience.

If we see the people in our lives through eyes that are trained to see the precious when everyone else sees the worthless, then we will find value in each and every encounter.
Our perceptions are the eyeglasses through which we see the world.  If our perceptions are shaded and dark, we will see that darkness in all that we experience.

If we have chosen to look for and perceive the good in the world, we will find that goodness.  If we see the people in our lives through eyes that are trained to see the precious when everyone else sees the worthless, then we will find value in each and every encounter.

I’m really interested in the ways that you have experienced this in your own life.  What perceptions are holding you back, and which ones are making your life a winning environment?

perception series
View all four articles in the perceptions series here. If you have found them to be helpful, share them with a friend. Perception Series

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • Shelisa

    Titus 1:15
    New International Version (NIV)
    15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

    I’ve read this before and thought it was interesting. “To the pure, all things are pure,”
    and I think it could be applied here to this thought.

    • Jeremy Binns

      Absolutely Shelisa. Great point! The inspiration was the verse that talks about if your eye is dark…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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