Escaping the Perception Gap

Lovebirds James and Laurie are roughly the same age, so they are not separated by a generation gap. Unfortunately, James and Laurie don’t perceive the world (or their relationship) in the same way, which means they are separated by a perception gap.

James’ perception tells him that Laurie has no problem with him taking some time to relax by himself and chill out reading the newspaper. But Laurie’s perception tells her that James is deliberately ignoring her, which (to her) means she is not smart enough, pretty enough or interesting enough to be worthy of James’ love and attention.

James thinks Laurie should understand he is tired and needs a little alone time, but eventually he senses her discomfort and feels judged, isolated and resentful. Laurie is upset that James is not giving her his full attention and trying to engage her in conversation; she is resentful that he is being selfish and feels excluded and ignored. The lovebirds are misperceiving each other, emotions are heating up and tempers could quickly flare.

James and Laurie have entered the perception gap; they need a way out before it undermines their relationship—before the gap widens and becomes a chasm they can’t escape.

Luckily for both James and Laurie, they can easily change this potentially damaging scenario by switching the lens of their perception from one of emotion to one of devotion. If Laurie can shift her focus from expecting something from James to wanting only what is best for him, she will no longer feel ignored—quite the opposite, she will take joy in the fact that James finds pleasure in a brief reading and relaxing respite. And if James can take a peek over the top of his newspaper once in a while to ask Laurie if she is okay, she won’t feel ignored and he will feel happy knowing she is content. If James and Laurie can conquer their emotion with devotion, the perception gap will be closed and all will be well in their contented love nest!

Losing our peace of mind because we expect our happiness to be delivered to us through the words or actions of others—be it a lover, boss, family member or friend—is a sure sign we are not thinking correctly . . . that we are dependent on others for our joy or sense of self-worth. True happiness, contentment and peace of mind can only come from within. When we seek it from outside ourselves we fall victim to our vacillating desires, the whims and moods of others, or to the misperceptions of our unreliable physical senses. In any of these cases, we are pulled away from our peaceful, spiritual center within—the only place where pure, selfless love can blossom, grow and be expressed. There is no room for anger, resentment or disappointed in a loving heart, only happiness and joy. As the great sage Paramahansa Yogananda wrote: “Real love is only happy in the happiness of the beloved”.

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