by Laurie on April 24, 2012

Perception.  Insight.  Awareness.  Discernment.  View.

Take a look at the picture above.  Old hag or beautiful woman?  What do you see?    Personally, I see the beautiful woman.  But it wasn’t always like that.  Not by a long shot.

Coming off writing a memoir, or a book about my fave subject (namely, me, ha ha,) I had the chance to take a good look at what I see, and how I see it.  Not many take the time to do this.  You really should.  Not only will you gain insight on yourself, but surprisingly enough, you’ll have a new perspective of those around you.  You don’t have to publish it– just write it down, stick it in a drawer, and cherish it.  It may show you who you really are.  Or, possibly, who you really want to be.   Maybe it’s only purpose will be to show you things can change.  (Because they can.)  Any way you see it, it’s a good idea.

Anyway, as a result of this inward glance (now that sounded cool, didn’t it?) for the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at each and every person with a different perspective.  What I’ve figured out is, there’s a fine line between the beautiful woman and the old hag.  It’s all in the way you look at it.

To apply this theory to life, you never know what any one person is going through: Why they are doing what they are at given moment.  How could you?  And what I’ve learned from this is… Never assume.  Never assume someone doesn’t have demons chasing them through life.  And never assume they do.  Or, to take it to that place where everybody’s been–don’t judge a book by its cover.

Let me explain.

If you saw me walking down the street, what would you think of me?  If I was carrying my Coach handbag, and wearing Uggs or a nice Michael Kors ensemble, and holding the hand of a very well-mannered child primly licking an ice cream cone, you may assume I was a snooty bitch.  Right?  What if I was just running into the store with no makeup on, no handbag, my hair in a clip, with sweats and beat up old running sneakers on?  What would you think then?  (Maybe that I was the old hag above?)

I can sit, in church, on a Sunday morning, and shake the hand of the guy next to me and declare “Peace be with you!”  And he smiles a pleasant smile. But maybe he goes home and kicks his dog, or beats his wife, or swears at his kids and neighbors.  Maybe not.  But you never know.  And you never know when you really should be saying “Peace be within you.”  Right?

Crazy enough, for me, I always had to look long and hard at the picture above for the beautiful lady.  I always saw the old hag. I saw her everywhere, in everything.   It was my perception of the world.

I’ve learned a lot about perception in the last few weeks.  Until not too long ago—I’m talking in years as time slips away so fast—I always saw the old hag, the downside, the pits.  I don’t know if I trained myself to do it, or it was my upbringing, or just in my nature.  I didn’t know how to see the forest through the trees:  How to flip a situation and see the sunny side while the dark one loomed.

Today, I see the good in every situation.  Or, at least I think about it until I can.  I learned to do this because I learned how to change my perception.  How I see things.  My world view.  There’s beauty everywhere.  You just have to find it.

I’ve heard it said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I believe this is true.  We all have our own glory, our own bits of us that are beautiful – maybe everyone can see it, maybe just a select few.  But there’s a part in us that sometimes can only be seen by the ones who look for it.  The ones who see us for who we really are:  The ones who call us beautiful, even if in just a pair of sweats, old running shoes, and a ponytail.  And at the risk of sounding like an idiot (and as you know I take that risk often,) I’m beginning to believe there’s not enough people in this world who look for it:  Not enough who try to see the beauty and dance in the rain.  It’s a shame, really…

Which brings me to my point.  You know I always have one.  It’s quick – maybe even a bit pithy– but I suggest you take some time and think about it.

You don’t always have to think someone is beautiful.  But you can find beauty in them, if you look.  You don’t have to like everyone—everyone is different—but you can respect them for who they are.  And you don’t have to change your lenses to rose-colored glass… but for God’s sake, try to see the good before your old lenses are so cracked and dirty you’ll never see the light.

Try it.  You might like it.

In Peace,