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  • Writer's picturelaurenstreetcounselling

Is it perception or reality?

What is reality? It sounds like such a simple question but doesn't always give us the answer we'd like. Albert Einstein put it like this "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one".

Ask yourself this question - have you ever been in conflict with someone and remember it was solely the other person's fault? Do you think they'd agree with you? Probably not..... that's when you hear things such as:

"What planet are you on?

That's not how I remember it

Were you even there?

It's your fault not mine"

The reason for this type of communication occurring is that we often add our own stuff to memories and situations to feel more comfortable with them, meaning we can create our own distortions or version of events. It's these distortions that can create unhealthy demands that we place on ourselves and others. By doing this we create the opportunity to experience unhealthy negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, jealously, envy & hurt.

So what's the difference? For some there isn't one as their perception IS their reality and this can be a challenging habit to break. Identifying your cognitive distortions is a really important part of therapy as it helps you accept yourself & others as imperfect and gain greater self-awareness. You can begin to separate the facts from what your feelings are in difficult situations and act accordingly rather than being caught up in the unhealthy negative emotions.

So how do we stop doing this? CBT/REBT therapy is a great place to start for identifying what your unhealthy demands are and where they came from. You can look at what is it you're telling yourself about how you want to be treated and the things that happen to you which creates your perceptions. Some of these perceptions can be created as children from what our parents teach us as well as what we then experience ourselves as adults. Therapy will challenge you to be honest with yourself and really question "is it the reality or is it your perception?"

Some CBT/REBT therapists may use the phrase "your own version of reality" and that's where we can sometimes end up rather than seeing the situation for what it really is. It may be easier for us to internally process but this may lead to conflicts later on in relationships or friendships as they remember it differently. You may even start to see other people's distortions based on their own perceptions giving you greater self-awareness and the ability to communicate this to those you love.

None of us like being told we're wrong or that we've not processed something in a healthy way but we're all capable of doing so and non-acceptance of this won't change the fact we're capable. However, what you can do is increase your self-awareness; learn to separate the facts from your own feelings and see yourself & others in an accepting and imperfect way. This can lead to better communication in friendships & relationships, less intense unhealthy feelings and more constructive and accepting thoughts. Doesn't that sound good?

If you'd like to get in touch to find out more about how CBT/REBT can help you to move forward in your life then please feel free to view the rest of my site, or get in touch at or 07801 331880 to find out more. Change starts today.

Till next month

Lauren x

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