On Manipulating Perception

This is a continuation of former blog on perception:

'Manipulating' is a strong word, which is precisely why I chose it for the title of this post.
Influence especially by cunning is one definition for 'manipulate' in Webster's Dictionary.
And that's kind of what we have to do when working to alter our perception; be cunning, cleverly tricking our psyche into thinking differently, perceiving our world and selves differently.
Anyone who says manipulating perception is easy is either lying or is extremely practiced at it, or both!
In my experience it's a lifestyle, a constant work in progress. At times I feel I've made no progress in the arena of changing my perception, and this is exactly when I'm reminded to work on my perception-altering practices.
An example: this past Wednesday morning we received a call from our landlord, he said people were complaining about our bird being too noisy. We were stunned and confused. I've had little Guapo, a peach-faced lovebird, going on 4 years and I love him. I hand-trained him and never has anyone, anywhere I've lived, complained about him chirping and singing.
Mind you, on that same exact Wednesday morning, when out walking the dogs, I discovered someone had stolen our bikes. That hurt too.
Then when my boyfriend went to pay the rent he was told we were being fined $500 for the bird problem.
My perception of my residence immediately began to change. I began feeling threatened, victimized, almost angry at our new apartment (we've been here for 1 month now).
When thinking of home while at work I would feel a tinge of stress, worry, angst... not the feelings that should be associated with one's home.
My perception of my sweet little bird began to change too, without me even being aware of it. Guapo's loud chirps began to seem ear piercing and annoying instead of delightful and energizing. I was losing my temper with him.
Then it dawned on me, someone else's perception of my bird's noise had very directly (and suddenly) affected my perception of his noise.
That's not cool.
I have to work now to regain my old, loving perception of my bird, seeing him only through eyes of love and respect. I must be patient with him.
Tonight I began to picture my apartment glowing with a soft, pleasant, warm, protective light... representing a safe haven for me and my family.
-Before I was envisioning us getting kicked out, and the neighbor who complained about Guapo feeling like a piece of shit. I was very angry at the landlord that's making us pay $500.
I have to instead bless this apartment, this building; picture all of my neighbors and landlords smiling, loving, happy, living in harmony with each other. I also have to envision myself as deserving and feeling I 'fit' in this wonderful apartment that we truly love... perhaps I wasn't feeling worthy of it before because it's so nice??
Once I manipulate my perception of this place, the nasty neighbor (woops, I already called him nasty again... I mean sweet neighbor), the landlord, hopefully it will help prevent further problems here.
-Time will tell.
Maybe now you're wondering, "Well how does this girl even know manipulating perception works then? She doesn't seem so sure about it working here."
I know it works because it has worked for me in the past.
-Months ago I felt impending doom under my boss' reign. I had a strong, unshakable sense that he wanted to get rid of me, that he didn't trust me, didn't feel comfortable with me working at Animal Services. It was awful, tormenting me. It was a sick sense... I'm sure you've had similar experiences with people in your life a time or two.
Once I had enough of this mental, self perpetuated torture, I remembered, "Jessica, you need to do some perception work here."
So, I thought, how can I envision my boss as all-encompassing, fun, great, easy-going instead of judgmental, not trusting, stern and intimidating?
Santa Claus! -Every time I'd pull into the parking lot at work I began picturing my boss (not saying who this is) as jolly ol' Saint Nick... happy, laughing, pipe in mouth, rosy cheeks and all!
I'd see his vehicle there and make myself exclaim with sincere delight, oh good, _________ (aka Santa) is here!
It worked. My worry and insecurity ceased. I enjoyed a more comfortable relationship with this person.
Manipulating perception is not magic. It's not like, you do it once, and wa-la, problem solved.
It is a constant work in progress.
When 'old' negative feeling begin to creep up we should gently go into 'manipulating perception' mode.
Say, "What can I do to look at this situation or person differently?"
It helps to really visualize, create a new image of the person or thing you're dealing with. That's what works best for me as depicted in examples above.
This process can be fun as long as you don't take yourself and your perception too seriously.
Remember to be nice and patient with yourself... you are doing the best you can, if you knew how to do better, you would... ponder that!
Related Meditation: I am willing to release negative thoughts. Worries and insecurities are blowing off of me with the gentle breeze... I can see the worries blowing away with the wind, dissolving into nothing in the air. I am free of my worries. I am free to not worry or judge. I am energy, only energy when broken down into particles, after the skin, the bones, the blood, the cells, there's only a mass of energy- that's me. My energy is good, vital and deserving of life, happiness and health.