The power of perception

A few weeks back, I bumped into someone in the street who I have met once or twice, but really don’t know that well. He asked me to stop my day for a coffee, so I did and we chatted. As he got to know me a little bit, he started looking at me as if I was growing a second head. He then said, ‘My God, you give great perception.’ Taken aback, I asked what he meant, and he said that he thought I was from an affluent background with loads of money. Luckily, at the time, I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee otherwise he would have been wearing it. It made me think about the perceptions we give other people.

At one point when I was growing up, my Mum, brother and one (sorry, one couldn’t resist) had to move into a council flat that was so bad it had its own documentary made about it a few years after we moved out. Whilst living in that flat I learnt a valuable lesson. My Mum would say, ‘it’s not what it is on the outside, it’s the home we make of it on the inside.’ It’s not who we are on the outside; it’s who we are on the inside that counts.

I believe what this guy spotted over coffee is self-worth. It’s taken me a long time to get it, too. I have met people who are very wealthy and you wouldn’t know it, and people who are poor who have great pride. But it’s not about the money. It’s about how you value yourself, but also what you value in life. Your values are one of the most important things. I believe values keep you balanced.

For example, when I value myself I don’t allow disrespect. When I didn’t value myself I was confronted all the time with people being horrible to me. When something shifted in me, and I changed my value of myself, that all stopped. I also have moral values as a compass; they keep me in check and become a clear line for keeping the right people in my life, people who share those values.

The way we carry ourselves isn’t about our bank balance, it’s about how we value who we are, and from that place we come across as being a person of value and worth. The perception of success isn’t a bad one to be giving off. But personal success in terms of loving yourself isn’t just recession proof, it’s timeless.