There is a popular type of meme that is made where one side of it shows the expectation that someone had about something and the other shows the reality. I wanted to do a tangent of that in this blog post to say that PERCEPTION is also often very different from reality.
My last marriage ended for a lot of reasons, but one that was true on both sides was that we both had incorrect perceptions of the other. She had a lot of bad experiences with men, and no matter how much I tried to NOT be like them, I would end up being blamed for having expectations or mentalities that were theirs, regardless of the fact that I did not hold them.
On my side, I believed that her dislike for strong masculinity and her liberal politics bent meant that I needed to be less masculine for her to be happy. She was also fed in her thinking by women's magazines that told her it was weakness to let a man provide for her, so she began to refuse my efforts to do things for her. I had spent a long time doing things around the house, because her back was hurting. I did it to help her, but it was seen instead as my making her feel incapable, even if it was given willingly. In the end as we had our final discussions, it became clear that the BEST thing that I could have done for the relationship would have been to NOT stay at home, continue working at a job outside the house, and make money to buy her gifts and take her places... in a VERY stereotypical manner. My perception was wrong.
Similarly, there were two periods that I was thinking of teaching... one back in 2006-2007 and this year. The first time, my PERCEPTION was that elementary teaching was a "feminine" job, and I needed to present myself as more feminine in my approach to kids to do it. The same was true for when I homeschooled my older daughter who has having major ADHD issues affecting her ability to be at school. I felt that I needed to go light on her and be more feminine in my approach, especially as her mother was working out of the house as a manager. The end result of that time was her mother and those with whom I interacted in that time feeling I was trying to take away the woman's position... even if my ex worked by choice and I was simply trying to do a job. Also, my older daughter that had it easier without firm discipline in that time would become spoiled and end up rejecting all the family in her pride. Now, I am approaching teaching from a masculine perspective that fits me, and it is welcomed by schools that understand kids need feminine and masculine influence. My earlier perception was wrong.
People say a lot of things. Not only is not all of them distorted, but they often don't reflect the reality of what they desire. We can and do make a lot of mistakes deciding for others what they desire and then deciding for them whether we are good enough as we are or if we need to change. A lot would be saved if we simply be ourselves and let others make their own decisions. If it ISN'T what people like or what fits with jobs, it will help us find job and people that do appreciate it.
Perception is based on ignorance, and it can lead to stupid mistakes. But, being the reality of ourselves will remain, long after those for whom we acted have left us. We should keep that in mind.