In therapy, we often talk about perception and perspective. While they are similar, there are differences. It’s so important to understand what perception and perspective are and how they are unique to each of us as individuals. Try to remember that they are not right or wrong, good or bad, but just different.
- Perception is the filter through which you derive an understanding of an experience with a person, situation, or object. (Environmental)
- Perspective is the lens you see the world through and determines how you view yourself, others, and everything else around you. (Internal)
They are neither right nor wrong, good or bad, but they are different. As we are each unique individuals determined by the culmination of our life experiences, this uniqueness is what determines our perceptions and perspectives.
For example, two people can look at the same sunset and see two entirely different things.
Person 1 sees the sunset as yellow, red, and orange, and to them it resembles fire. This perception makes them feel warm. Their perspective is positive and allows them to recall fond memories of watching the sunset with their grandparents.
Person 2 sees the sunset as a blinding hindrance to vision when driving. This perception came from a time when the sunset obstructed their view and they had a minor vehicle accident. The perspective is that sunsets are dangerous because of a lived experience or perception, which was negative.
Both people see the same sunset, but based on their perceptions, it has given them different perspectives.