Thursday, 12 April 2012

Our perceptions screw us

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Caribbean coffee is supposed to be good. So I am going to force myself to enjoy it"

A long time back when we used to religiously watch the sitcom Friends, one of my friends refused to. I was so devoted to Friends, I knew an enormous amount of trivia and all the lines by heart and here was one of my best friends who simply adamantly refused to watch. When we asked him for the reason, he said "I don't want it to ruin my perception of friends" Naturally I chortled.

What is this perception thing he was talking about anyway? Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, we create perceptions about a lot of things without effort. And because of this, we start picking up traits that make us to align to these perceptions. Think about it... I am sure you have at least one friend who likes to put "so" in all the wrong places, as in - "That is so wrong." or "That is so not true". This way of talking is picked up straight from Friends. It is a grammatically incorrect way of speaking, but people don't care because it has a "cool" ring to it. It makes you feel like characters from Friends (Most likely Rachel) and you don't give a damn about grammar if you can be Rachel.

Perception screws you in many ways. Take Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Maid's day and what no? A simple agenda by greeting card companies to maximise sales. Otherwise, think about it logically. What difference does it make about one random day in a year? I can understand if you want to celebrate your anniversary. But you should see the TV shows and how people mope about being "single, and that too on Valentine's Day" or pouting for not getting a gift on Valentine's Day. People break up for these silly reasons.

And because we have some perceptions, we also have some expectations. With the amount of propaganda on fairness creams and girls getting rejected and dejected for being dark (and now some guys have followed suit) it has set a perception and thereby an expectation that fair girls are awesome, dark girls are not. This naturally changes a whole lot of things.

And we have developed a whole lot of such ideas without knowing it. That pizza is fancy and pasta is awesome and Caribbean coffee is so aromatic simply because ads and movies made us feel so. We force ourselves to make it seem so, in order to ensure that we don't seem like misfits. What will others think about us is a very strong driving factor for many. Not just our perception, but others' perception of us makes a difference to us apparently

Perception can be good and bad. Perception can be good if you are trying to protect yourself - it is better to be safe than sorry. If you have a perception that someone is not a good person and that you should stay away from that person then follow your heart. But otherwise, perceptions tend to bias your mindset. And since it is not always a conscious decision, you will not even realise perceptions that you have had and you will tend to have expectations based on that - and since your perception itself was not justified in the first place, your wrong expectations may lead you to lose something valuable. Maybe a job, a friend or an opportunity of a life time.

To summarise, learn to enjoy things that you truly enjoy - don't make decisions in order to make yourself avoid seeming like a social misfit. Sometimes, having a devil may care attitude is going to make you feel a whole lot better. I still remember four of us ordering some fancy Caribbean coffee from a fancy cafe, shelling out a whole lot of money and then leaving half of it there. Our Rs. 5 filter kaapi is so much more better. I am not saying those who like Caribbean coffee lack taste. And with that I end my two paise (see what I did there?) worth of talk.

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