Perception vs perspective – perception of the mind and help for changing perspectives

Changing perspectives means altering the perception of our mind… Perception vs perspective – the difference and how we can experience a full and happy life? MeditationDNA explains…

perception vs perspective
perception of the mind
changing perspectives

Perception Is Not Reality

Just because you think something is reality doesn’t make it reality.


Perception and perspectives

Perception and Reality are two different things. Perception is the way someone views or perceives something while the reality is what happens.

Perception, therefore, relates to our thoughts and thinking patterns towards something. Our perceptions change throughout time depending on how much information we get about something.

Fundamentally, our perception creates our reality yet.

Perception has five stages: sensory input or stimulation/selection, organization, interpretation, memory, and recall.

It is also determined or influenced by our senses (as this forms our experiences) through vision (visual perceptions which stimulate our visual cortex), touch, sound, taste, smell.

Perception is the way people understand things. Different people may have varying perceptions of the same thing because most of the time, the perception is shaped not just by the society in which they live but also by their personal experiences, cultural heritage, generational history, and societal conditioning.

A person’s thinking pattern is determined by several factors including genetics, environment, and life experiences as well as values, beliefs, myths, attitude, education, rules, law, community, etc. 

For example, myths, legends, and religious beliefs have been passed on for generations within certain communities which creates a framework for the way certain people think.

Beliefs that are based on perceptions form most people’s realities – what they think, they perceive as their truth, or in some cases the truth. Some perceptions are really difficult to disprove. I mean how can we prove someone’s thoughts or even our own thoughts wrong?

Although this might be tricky changing our perspectives through self-awareness is possible.

Perspective vs perception

Perception is your interpretation of something and your understanding of a certain situation, person, or object. It is the meaning your brain forms towards an external stimulus. 

Perspective, however, is your point of view and opinion you hold of this stimulus.

So then what is reality…

What is Reality?

Reality is the truth and the real existence of things. This refers to the external, physical factors that most people experience regardless of their perceptions.

The truth or reality might be concealed by misconceptions. It might be difficult to reveal the truth in many situations. For instance, early people thought the earth to be a flat plane. Later, the world was proven to be a ball shape. Also, most of the time truths are buried in misconceptions.

This is often where people’s individual reality and core beliefs shine through.

So if our individual reality is determined by our perceptions and our perceptions are determined by reality… what is the difference?

Perception vs. Reality

  • Perception is the way a person understands something and different people may have different perceptions of the same thing.
  • Reality, on the other hand, is the truth and the actual existence of something rather than a mental state of being.
  • Perceptions can be changed as they are formed by external factors while reality holds a more concrete state.
  • Perception is related to the individual’s beliefs, mental state, and personal traits while reality exists on its own.

However, when we consider our personal reality – this can be changed by changing our perspectives. Sometimes, our perception may reflect reality itself. It is our perception that shows how we understand our reality and it is through our perception that we experience our personal reality.

Both perception and reality, play a major role in an individual’s life and the one reflects the other one.

When someone is delusional it relates to their perceived reality being very far removed from the actual physical reality that everybody else experiences.

This is why the new technology of virtual reality is so affective in altering our perceptions (specifically visual perceptions) as it stimulates most of our sensory system. It quite literally creates a new reality in our heads by using sensory input.

You perceive what you already know through the knowledge that you obtain.

Changing your perception (through acquiring more understanding and knowledge towards the perceived thought) changes your reality.

Your perception is your reality.

Change your perception, change your reality. Perception is your perspective, which is based upon your experience. The definition of perception, according to Merriam-Webster , is “a result of observing”, it is “a physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience”, while perspective is “a mental view or prospect”. These definitions basically underline the way you view things, according to your past experiences. Your reality is comprised of a series of experiences that shape the way you see things.

Perception Synonym – Insight or Discernment 

We assume that other people feel as we do. We forget that each person is unique. We experience things differently and feel differently. We perceive things based on our own experiences and therefore our perceptions are different.Your personal reality is made up of what you think, feel, and experience. Your perception dictates how you see the whole-hearted realities of things. Reality is what you make of it. You create your reality by how you interpret everything around you. 

What is ‘your truth’ or ‘your reality’?

 Our individual perceptions vs reality can become confusing. Our perceptions are what we perceive reality to be.

We must understand that our perception can cause us to miss certain important information.  Reality isn’t what we think it is. We perceive the world based on our perceptions

Our world is relative to our perspective. This concept was used by William James in the 1800s when he introduced the idea of consciousness. We experience life through our senses which create an internal representation of reality.

If we are aware of this process then we can change the way we act to experience more positive outcomes. i.e developing self-awareness Your reality is therefore not THE reality. 

In saying that however since everybody lives their truth no truth is the ultimate truth… Psychotherapy and various mindfulness practices are helpful because it teaches you about yourself by turning inward. You learn about your past feelings and what you’ve experienced through self-reflection and introspection. 

It gives you the chance to change things in your life if needed as you create a higher sense of self-awareness. Therapy, mindfulness, and meditation help you to understand why you act certain ways. It also teaches you to be more open-minded and receptive to new information as well as the willingness to change

Understanding Your Perception – how it affects your reality

Self-reflection pertains to questioning and then re-questioning in order to evaluate our perceptions and how it affects our thinking. if we want to change the nature of our thinking and resultingly our perceptions we have to ask ourselves certain questions regarding our feelings and thoughts such as: 

Is the magnitude of my emotion matching the reality of the situation?

What are the facts of the situation?

What does this situation remind me of?

How have I felt in a situation similar to this one in the past? Is that why I’m feeling this way now? 

What emotions am I hyperaware of? and extra sensitive to?

Is how I feel a reaction to the past or the present?What’s also helpful for me, is to put myself in the mindset of each person involved. What is their point of view?


Our perceptions can often cloud our judgments. We tend to believe something based on what we think rather than what actually is. 

It can, therefore, be really helpful to speak to other people and hear their interpretations of things to challenge our own opinions. By speaking to others we avoid internalizing our thoughts which often leads to overthinking and a static way of being. 

When we base our reality on both reason and perception we set ourselves up for a more balanced way of existing. 

Perceptions examples – Let’s take marketing for example. Marketing is based on the premise of perception. Perception in marketing is what makes you buy a certain something because it triggers a perception you can relate to which aligns with your beliefs, needs, and wants. 

eg. “My perception of beauty is to wear makeup – therefore I need this new waterproof eyeliner in order to feel my best and be aesthetically pleasing.” Marketing and specifically the cosmetic/fashion/beauty industry thrives on altering and playing off people’s perceptions.  

Changing our perceptions through mindfulness and contemplative traditions

Contemplative traditions such as meditation and mindfulness can be hugely beneficial to changing the way we see or perceive things.

How you might ask? 

It comes down to awareness and expressing gratitude. 

Gratitude plays an important role in changing your perception. Finding silver linings in every situation invites positivity into your life. Focusing on the big picture helps you stay optimistic when times seem tough. 

You should develop your awareness of all the positive things in your current situation. This may help you deal with any negative events that happen later in your day or week. You could use this information when choosing what you want to do about future problems. If you focus on the positive aspects of every experience, then you know how to handle tougher situations when they arise.

You should try to maintain a positive attitude even during challenging situations, as this will greatly assist you in coping with adversity. it is important to know that without negativity positivity cannot exist.

So along those lines, there is always a positive aspect that can be derived from a negative experience. It is all just down to a shift in perspective of the mind. 

For example, let’s say you have gone through a breakup or maybe even lost your job. It can be very easy to find yourself in a negative thought pattern of “I am not good enough or worthy” due to the rejection. Rather, you can see it as an opportunity for self-growth and development. Maybe that person or that job was not right for you and losing them or, it makes space for something even better and more aligned to your desires. 

Being grateful towards things that might be perceived as negative turns them into a positive! 

Practicing gratitude in these moments is not easy but it can be a super powerful tool to living a more abundant life and inviting those things into your life that is right for you. 

Gratitude is a great tool for maintaining positivity. 

Easy ways to practice gratitude?

  • Writing down five things each day you are thankful for is a good idea.
  • Brainstorming how circumstances can lead to new opportunities is another useful exercise.
  • Meditation can also provide answers as to why you think things are bad or good.

(Reminder: There is no good or bad there simply just it). Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude. 

Meditation and changing perspectives – a tool towards perspective training

Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on your thoughts. This can be done in many different ways and it includes body scans, yoga, breathing techniques, movement meditations, and journaling).

This helps you open up your mind to other people’s perspectives. You learn to see things differently by considering others’ feelings through self-reflecting on your mental patterns.

Meditation practice encourages you to consider someone else’s views and this can also improve your communication skills as you will be able to see things from different perspectives and consider other opinions or interpretations.

You might even learn some new perspectives towards your own habits or actions.

Results from brain imaging confirmed that changes in brain structure were directly related to the form of mental training practiced. Immediately following 3 months of Presence training (breathing practices and body scans, etc), participants showed significantly greater thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, both of which are associated with attention and executive function. Performance on computer-based tasks that measure attention and executive function also increased.

A study was conducted by researchers who trained participants to be more compassionate through Affect and Perspective instruction training (which can be linked to perspectives therapy or perspectives counseling). After doing this, participants showed increased activity in the part of the human brain associated with emotions such as compassion and empathy. This is an example of perspective-taking or empathic concern. This type of training accesses our prefrontal cortex which controls cognitive control functions.

Adults’ brains showed significant increases in cortical thickness after following the Perspective instruction. This suggests that adults change their behavior by observing how other people think. Their brains also show thicker cortical tissue in the region of the brain known as the posterior superior temporal sulcus, which is closely connected to areas of the frontal cortex involved in social cognition and theory of mind.

These findings suggest that adults who take on another’s point of view change their behavior and understand that others might be thinking differently than them.

Perception checking is very important towards self-development.

Try this guided meditation below all about changing perspectives!

Perceptions theory:

Many different theories involve how we perceive things; some of these include:

Self-perception theory: 

Our attitudes and preferences are determined by interpreting and analyzing our behaviors.

Gibson’s theory of perception:

Perception is fundamental to survival and it is an innate evolutionary mechanism that has kept us alive. Perception along with judgment is how we can determine when something might put us into danger.

Direct perception theory:

Perception is the theory that the information needed for perception is external to us, meaning we can directly perceive objects without any help from memory, inference, representation, or other cognitive processes.

Gregory’s constructivism theory of perception

Past knowledge and experience is the best way to understand the world around us. Gregory proposed that perception works by making reasonable guesses about the world based on what it is likely to be.

Social Perception Theory

Social perception theories and studies focus on the nature, causes, consequences, and implications of perceptions of social entities such as oneself, others, social categories, and groups to which one may belong.

Perception quotes

Perception quotes | Perception quotes, Inspirational quotes, Perception
Pin by CamiFranchy on PERCEPTION | Perception quotes, Perspective quotes,  Reality quotes
28 Perception Quotes, Inspirational Words of Wisdom

So long story short – a lot of aspects (I would go as far as to say all aspects) of our lives are determined by our perceptions and perspectives of others, things, and ourselves. The great news is we have the ability and power to change our perceptions, perspectives, beliefs, and actions at any given point through self-reflection, introspection, self-awareness, meditation, and being mindful of our inner landscape of thoughts and emotions.

We have the power to change our perspectives and therefore alter the way we show up in our lives.

About author: bianca

Yoga and meditation instructor, holistic personal trainer, nutritional advisor, website and content designer, blog writer, professional dancer, performing artist, voice-over actor, and choreographer.