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The way we perceive others


Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay
When we have to change an opinion about anyone, we charge heavily to his account the inconvenience he thereby causes us.
—Nietzche

We perceive others the way we wish them to be because we’ve categorised them based on their appearance and speech within minutes of meeting them, and to have to change our opinions is having to admit we were wrong.

We seek comfort by labelling people so we will not feel challenged by them and also because making assumptions about others gives us a sense of superiority which feeds our ego. This is human nature. We want to imagine ourselves in control of our environment.

Sometimes we come across friends from our past who, we thought then, knew us best, but meeting after many years we realise they’re still holding on to their old image of us, without considering the time lapse or the changing circumstances.

This could be the result of fear of the unknown or a sense of insecurity. We place people in neatly labelled boxes the same way others define us using the data available to them, and are unhappy when we feel the need to sieve the information and re-evaluate our thinking.

Even the way we view ourselves changes over the years as we accomplish our goals and we believe we have left our insecurities behind us. But though we hate being typecast, let us acknowledge that most of the time our responses are predictable. We may like to think ourselves unique, but human behaviour is typical to a great extent because our brain is conditioned to think in a certain way.

© Parizad Trikannad

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