Perception Versus Self-Reality

Note: This post was automatically generated from John’s weekly newsletter, The Daly Grind. If you encounter broken links or images, you can go here to read from the original newsletter: Read More

The other day an online friend posed a rather profound question that I thought would make an interesting newsletter topic:

I struggled with the answer a bit, initially thinking, “It depends on who the other people are.” For example, those of us who write about politics are pretty used to being assigned positions we don’t have by those who take exception with a stated position we do have; I call it “binary brain”, and it’s not a good thing.

But the more I thought about the question, the more recollections I had of even people pretty close to me, at times, misunderstanding (or falsely presuming) things about me, whether it be my views on various topics, what I mean when I say certain things, or even my simple likes and dislikes. And more often than not, I’ve been surprised by those perceptions.

It soon occurred to me that my answer to Nancy’s question was “No.”

I felt, however, that there had to be more to the answer — something that was missing. And before I could identify what it was on my own, I saw a reply to Nancy, from another online friend, that filled in the blank:

I have over half a century under my belt. During that time, I’ve experienced lots of highs and lows, spent long phases of my life alone (which builds introspection), and been a lifelong observer of people and their behavior (which I hope comes across in my writing). I’m far more honest than I was as a kid and young adult, and I’m more patient and grounded in principle than I’ve ever been. Like Louis Armstrong, I’ve heard babies cry and I’ve watched them grow, and at this point in my life, I think I have a pretty good sense of myself.

But as Clifford (borrowing from someone else) says, that’s not necessarily true. What I’m far more confident about is his other point — that people instinctively believe others think about them more often and more deeply than they actually do. I see evidence of this all the time on Facebook, where people — often in the form of a chain-post — seem consumed with learning how they’re perceived by their friends.

I get where that drives come from, and I’m certain that when I was younger I thought about that type of thing a lot. But I haven’t cared much about how people perceive me in a long time, and I’m pretty certain I’m not occupying many minds anyway. The best I can do is be my genuine self and try to improve as a person. If people like what they see, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s okay too.

Oh, but if you’re an internet troll falsely accusing me of something or just calling me names (it unfortunately comes with being a writer), I still may make fun of you… but I assure you it would be purely for entertainment purposes. 😉


Do YOU believe you have an accurate understanding of how others perceive you? Let me know in an email or in the comment section below.

Random Thought

Obligatory Dog Shot


Catch Up on the Sean Coleman Thrillers

All of my Sean Coleman Thriller novels can be purchased through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Books-A-Million, and wherever else books are sold.

Featured Vinyl

In recognition of my home city of Greeley getting its first record store since way back in my college days, the “Featured Vinyl” section will be back for a limited time.

I picked up this album last week because I couldn’t pass up the 1968 Eastwood-Western cover art (which has held up to the elements shockingly well). Hang ‘Em High’s original score, believe it or not, was written and recorded in just eight days. The film was United Artists’ biggest box-office opening ever, up until that time.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.

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Also, if you’re not caught up on my Sean Coleman Thrillers, you can pick the entire series up at a great price on Amazon. And if you’re interested in signed, personalized copies of my books, you can order them directly from my website.

Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!

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