There’s a magnet on our refrigerator which reads, “Make Today Better Than Yesterday”. A nice but rather prosaic sentiment. Yet it does bring up an interesting (to me) point about the way perception works.
The wondrous thing about perception lives in the fact that many different people giving consideration to the same object or idea will invariably produce a reaction or opinion disparate from the others. Used properly, that can be a powerful tool. “Kirsten had a beautiful face.” Everyone has their own perception of what the word beautiful means to them. That simple sentence lets me convey an idea which would otherwise require a far greater number of words, and avoids any risk that your perception of beauty is different than mine.
Perception is also what makes people truly unique, yet sometimes comes with a risk of embarrassment and unnecessary regret later on. For an example of what I mean, there are many fine illustrations of regret in the pictures of any yearbook more than a decade old. You know damn well what I mean. I also highly recommend visiting a certain Reddit sub dedicated to the matter, if that’s your sort of thing. Our perception made it all seem like a good idea at the time…
Read the wisdom revealed by the magnet again. How did you interpret its meaning? Does it mean yesterday was so great, yet today could be even better? That’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Yesterday was good, today is going to be fantastic, and the future looks bright because tomorrow will be even better. In a few years, your heart will be all aflutter because the notion that every day is always better than the last is the type of interest that compounds. I like it and your optimism!
Here’s the interesting part. Those very same words can just as easily be interpreted as having a very different, darker meaning. For some, it might serve as a reminder that today could be better because yesterday was so lousy. To the person who reads it that way, it conveys a sense of consolation. Don’t fret, there is potential to turn things around. Life is awful, but it’s going to get better.
See what I mean? Same words, an entirely different interpretation based on one’s perception.
Depression is the real deal, by the way. I’m far from an expert on dealing with it personally, but I’ve had my bouts with being a loved one of someone afflicted by it. As an outsider, it takes some getting used to because, auspicious kitchen magnets aside, everyone has a bad day from time to time. When a person with clinical depression says they are having a bad day, it’s very easy to misread the gravity of what they mean. Relating it to that day your car didn’t start and the boss gave you hell for being late again is a far cry from what they are dealing with. Responding as such can sometimes have unintentional but grave consequences. Same planet, very different worlds.
But this isn’t about depression, it’s about perception. Or maybe that’s your perception and the reality is about me needing a short distraction to write about today and I happened upon a magnet in my kitchen. Which is probably all it is.
Just depends on how you look at it.
If you like what you read here, why not give me a follow? If you don’t, follow anyway. Call it your good deed of the day.