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Perception versus reality has always given me some really good belly laughs.

Often when I speak with people, they have this perception that my life is very glamorous, that I have a million friends and a huge social life. As I write this, I am laying on the floor next to my child at the hospital while he sleeps. I am wearing the same clothes that I’ve had on since nearly 24 hours prior. I smell bad, I look bad, and my other child is home recovering from gastro; where I spent the night prior cleaning pools of bodily fluids, and binning underwear while holding my breath so that I didn’t add to the artwork on my floor.

Sure, my life is reasonably together, but a huge social life and friends? Well, let’s just say my friends circle is very small, most of which are in another city or state, I haven’t been invited out for a very long time, and I spend a lot of time with my family or alone. I think people’s perception is that I am too busy, so they don’t invite me, when in reality this is not true at all.

The thing is, we never truly know what someone else has going on in their world, and our perception is unlikely to be the reality. Just because your friend Nicole is constantly posting photos out with friends having a good time, doesn’t mean that she isn’t having her fair share of tough times too. Maybe, because of those tough times (now or in the past), she realises the importance of celebrating every day, and enjoying life as much as possible; her posts on social media – a journal to share with those keen to observe or ignore. Many of us, myself included, use social media to share the most positive moments happening in our lives, and silently deal with the tough times.

It’s easy for people to think that your life is perfect if you only share the good stuff. Sure, I often feel twangs of sadness and jealousy when I see I missed out on being invited to something, or I am working away and it seems everyone else is off enjoying life. We are all human and these feelings are normal. Where we come unstuck though; is when we fall into self-pity thinking we have no friends, and we start comparing our lives to others. Comparison really is the thief of joy, and when we have these negative thoughts, we need to ask ourselves: Is this my perception or is this reality? Or more simply “is this really true?”.

Whenever we think something negative, these four words- “is this really true?” is a great question to ask ourselves. What you see as real is only defined by your belief structure. Your version of what is real – is determined by your perception of it. Life perception is that happiness leads to gratitude, whereas life reality is that gratitude leads to happiness. Life perception is that success is about achievement, whereas life reality is that success is about self-growth. Life perception is that the quality of relationships is measured by their length, whereas life reality is that the quality of relationships is measured by their depth. Life perception is that how people treat you is a reflection of you, whereas life reality is that how people treat you is a reflection of them.

Life perception is that eventually, we “find” ourselves, whereas life reality is that over time, we create ourselves. Just like the perception that once our children are toilet trained our days of cleaning up poop is over; however, as parents find out, the reality is that crap happens, and we never know when it’s going to hit.