• Wow. This hit me hard Susan. Hard in the sense, I’ve just been restudying why this exact thing happens to us. There is a website (and a few free lessons) by Morty Lefkoe. During the course I thought MORE of all the mistakes that I made as a parent, then what my parents made with me. Maybe that is some kind of belief too???

    In the end, it turns out that most (if not all) parents make mistakes that cause these perceptions to turn into long held beliefs. We certainly don’t mean to, and not each of us has things happen in the same ways.

    You asked, “Have you clung to a childhood perception about an event that proved to be wrong?” Likely many of them for sure!

    Oh.. I am so appreciative of the mention my friend. You are – the best.

    • It seems to be something we all do and yet we have a difficult time letting them go or revising them Patricia. It does help if we have all the facts. It did in my case with my own parents. Re the mentions? – You are so very welcome my friend.

  • I certainly identify with your stepchild’s perception! No one ever took me on a trip where someone spent lots of money on clothes, but I would have wanted that tee as well (but not asked, because I would almost definitely get a no). Later in life, we had a little more money, and now I fortunately can afford nice clothes, but because I couldn’t get them when I was little, they always feel so precious.

    • I hear you Leora. my family was not very rich. I would have heard the same thing with the same question. It was all about what we needed no what you wanted. 🙂

  • Margaret Duarte

    I love this: “It’s important to never assume that a snapshot of an experience, past or present, is all encompassing. There may be much more to the story that could change our perception of that moment in time.” I also love the “highlighter” feature in your comments. What a great idea!

    • Hi Margaret. It is so good the see you my friend. We are way overdue having a coffee and catching up.

      Aw, thank you for your kind word. the highlighter was a suggestion from a good friend that has paid off. 🙂

  • Jacqueline Gum

    So very true…clinging to perceptions from childhood or really any other time. Maybe best to ask the question or even have an argument so that everyone gets the full or back story:) I’m sure I have held on to a few, but I was lucky to straighten lots of them out with mother right before she passed. Really great one Susan!

    • Thanks Jacquie, I too was lucky to have had the time to do the same with my parents. Some of long held beliefs were downright laughable. It just takes a bit of open mindedness and conversation to see it for what it is not what we think it is. 🙂

  • Pat Ruppel

    Oh, I find this to be so true, Susan. The longer I live the more I discover those things I’ve held on to over the years that many times shaped my life. It’s taken me awhile but I’m learning to just be open along with letting go.

    You’re right. Patricia says it perfectly — “Staying in our head too often can close our heart.”

    • Aw thanks Pat. We do spend way to much time in our head; with hurts misperceptions and misinformation, and not taking the time enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. 🙂

      • Pat Ruppel

        Couldn’t have said it better, my friend. Much better to take time to be grateful for the little things and all that we have.

  • Cheryl Therrien

    OMG did this bring back memories. I can think of so many times that I had the wrong impression and still held onto it as an adult. Isn’t it interesting that it is usually long into our adult years before we connect those dots.

    • I agree Cheryl. Why it takes us so long to connect the dots, is beyond me. 🙂

  • Great post and message. Looking back, what comes to mind right away is how often I was told “no” as a kid. Not that I didn’t get a lot of what I wanted, but being told no more than a few times definitely taught me to learn how to better weigh how much I wanted or needed this or that, and it’s served me well as an adult. What really bugged me at times though was all of the cool stuff my dad bought for himself and paid cash for. There was always a new pick-up, a new rifle, a new power tool, etc. Now I see it was not to my place to think I needed him to buy me everything I wanted just because he spoiled himself silly.

    • Yep, as kids it all about what we want not about who earned to money and brought it form themselves. My parents didn’t spoil themselves, we simply didn’t have the resources, but oh how I resented it when they would buy something for themselves and say no to my request. Some things never changes, huh. 🙂

  • Sue Hines

    Love your blog. It’s like an informative journal packed with insights. You consistently carry the meaning of events forward to make valuable sense of the past today – sharing life’s lessons with us. Thank you.

    • WOW Sue, Thank you for your very kind words. You just made my day. 🙂

  • Lisa Voncino

    Great story and food for thought.

  • Tim

    That is a great story Susan and got me thinking about a perception I have hung on to for more years than I care to think about; to the point where I now feel some guilt for even thinking it. I will do my best to let it go as you are absolutely right; the parameters of it are from a child’s eye.

    • It hard to remember that at times, Tim, until something causes the light bulb to go on. When we can see a childhood perception from an adult’s point of view, it changes everything. 🙂

  • Beth – http://EncoreWomen.com

    I imagine that we all cling to early perceptions. And what good do they do us? None! If only we could bring ourselves to talk them through with the other people involved. Then we could put them to rest more easily. By the way, I love the illustrations for your post. Did you create them?

    • I agree with you Beth, Why we don’t is a puzzle… huh.

      Regarding the illustrations: Thanks so much. All the illustrations and images on the blog are mine.

      • Beth – http://EncoreWomen.com

        I thought so. They are really nice. Do you make and sell some like them on order?

        • Thanks Beth, I have but haven’t yet put a full-core-press to it. 🙂

  • Eve Koivula

    I don’t think I’ve ever carried any perceptions like that, but I recently learned that my oldest brother alienated himself from the rest of the family because of a perception he had about Mom having a different “amount” of love for each of us kids. She surely didn’t which my brother only understood when she was passing. Poor him… he has missed so much over the years having that misperception.

    • That is so sad Eve. I can see where much regret could be in the aftermath. I hope not. Thanks for adding to the conversation. 🙂

  • I have never experience anything like this I don’t know why that is, as a child I just accepted things as they wore but that said I know that children usually don’t know all the facts and because of that they perceive things differently

    • You’re were pretty luck and pretty smart. Kids do that at times it will take years to unwind that misperception at times. 🙂

  • That must have been tough to hear from your stepdaughter. I hope you finally gave her the whole picture. It’s awful when we hold on to grudges and misconceptions. And it’s easy to forget that are parents were just ordinary people doing the best they could.

    • Hi A.K. It was more of a surprise that anything. Many times we hold our parents to higher standard, one that no one could achieve. No wonder things get all mucked up at times. We haven’t yet but I do plan on talking to her about it. 🙂

  • Pat Amsden

    Wow! I hope now that you’ve talked about it she understands why she didn’t get her Tshirt. I don’t remember anything like that with my parents but I know my brother and I have had radically different memories of our childhood.

    • Hi Pat, My bothers also have a very different view of our childhoods, That is in part because of our age differences. I was the oldest so my memory would have been different. We laugh about some of the stuff we thought and now know to be very different. 🙂

  • Hi Susan – I can’t think of any, although I’m sure there are some. I’m more with Pat W. I tend to go back to my parenting years and think ‘if only’. Foolish I know but some things are hard to let go. But I will.

    • We all do that. Old tapea are really hard to shake but we must. After all, what can we do about the past? Not a darn thing. 🙂

  • The way you wrote this story makes me think of the issues I have also carried because I did not have perspective of why it happened the way it did. This is a lovely story.

    • Hi Welli., You are not alone. We all do it. Time does have a way of changing how we view things, doesn’t it?

  • This is a powerful story, and I know we all have memories of impressions we had as children that may or may not have been true. Back when I was in HR, I often had to explain to managers about their employees that “their perception is their reality.” It’s a hard concept to grasp when you can see the big picture but that person can’t.

    • Hi Meredith. I here you. It so interesting to hear perceptiona about the same thing that was witnessed by many. It’s rare that the perceptions are the same. 🙂

  • Tatia Sikharulidze

    Hi Susan. This post was quite thought-provoking. I think we tend to cling on to childhood perceptions because the feelings associated with them are so raw and unfiltered at a young age. It’s almost interesting how perceptions hold just as much value throughout adulthood because we don’t have the opportunity or the time to learn the whole truth.

    • Hi Tatia, Thanks and oh how true that is. It does take time, courage and opportunity to want to see the whole picture. Not all want to do that. 🙂

  • This was amazing story. All of us have different memories from our childhood. Sometimes the perceptions are true and sometimes not. Unfortunately I cannot remember any at the moment. But I was thinking that it must have been very hard for you to listen to this from your stepdaughter. I hope she read this now.

    • Hi Andleeb, It was more of a surprise then it was hard. It made me wonder what other perceptions she may have that are just as interesting and with out the background story. 🙂

  • Lorraine Marie Reguly

    My son often had to make due with what we had during our lean years, too, and often questioned why he couldn’t have a particular toy when we went shopping. I explained things to him the best that I could, and he seemed to understand. However, I often spent money I didn’t have to atone for the guilt I felt in the first place.

    • Hi Lorraine, When a child is young they can only see what is in there universe which is pretty small. When time passes it is always a hope that they can take the time to see the whole story. 🙂

  • Dana Buckmir

    I really enjoyed this post because it is so true. Our perception makes our reality even if it just that, our perception. That’s funny that your daughter held onto that memory for so long. I could understand because I’ve had similar conversations with my mother in which we discussed how are perceptions of the past differed. When you can communicate with someone about perceptions as my mother and I have, you are able to move forward to reach an understanding about the experience.

    • Hi Dana, When we have the courage to face our perceptions, demons if you will, they cease to be a burden. When that happens, we truly can more forward with out those demons. 🙂

  • A lot of times it is hard to tell what is going to stick in a child’s mind. We tend to think that if they are bothered by something they will say something or visually demonstrate their unhappiness. But a lot of times that doesn’t happen and as with the mother in this story, you often never fully realized the impact that an incident or comment had.

    • That is so true Ken, Sometimes it is the smallest of things that can have to most impact. If we can step back and ask good questions, we could possibly avoid this kind of thing. 🙂

  • maxwell ivey

    hi susan; it is funny what we hold on to. for some reason my brother thinks we were poor when we were growing up. we weren’t or at least i don’t think we were; but we lived in an area where a lot of his friends wore nicer clothes drove newer flashier cars and didn’t have to think as hard about how they spent their money. the danger with comparing is you don’t have the other person’s whole picture either. good story, max

    • That is absolutely the case Max. We will never really know the whole story behind what we see. Asking helps to dispel that sometimes. 🙂

  • Psychology labels this a “heightened experience”. The closest thing to it might be a defining moment. An experience that impacts us so much it changes our perception and causes us to form new core belief. Core beliefs are very hard to change. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I’m sitting here trying to think of examples, but I”m from a dysfunctional Italian family; what ever I perceived was never correct; only the top of the iceberg.

    • You are right Pamela. When we’ve developed a core belief, it is nye to impossible to change it. It takes another earth shattering event to move it off center. Thanks for adding the conversation. 🙂

  • Niekka McDonald

    I have had many perceptions from my childhood and thank goodness I have been able to talk to my mom about them and get a better understanding. I also had to be open to receive what she was telling me. My daughter has questioned me as well but didn’t want to hear the reason why I did what I did. All I can do is pray that one day she understands but as for now I have gotten so much understanding from my discussions with my mom.

    • Time has a way to move a childhood perception to a questioning phase Niiekka. I am sure that will be the case with your daughter as well. In the meantime, I am so glad you were able to settle things with your mom.

  • Debra Yearwood

    Unfortunately misperceptions aren’t limited to childhood. I see adults look at cold data and walk way with all the wrong perceptions about what that information means. The thing that makes childhood perceptions so concerning is that they can colour a lifetime of experiences.

    • I have seen that too Debra. It is a bit baffling at times, isn’t it. I agree with you about childhood memories, they certainly can affect us for as long as we allow them to. 🙂

  • My feeling is that at some point in your life you “have to let it go.” That’s been my own mantra. I have a nephew now who can’t let go of his misperception that his late father favored his two other brothers. Of course, my brother loved all his children equally and they are all very accomplished. He couldn’t convince my nephew of that and I believe my nephew will cling to that perception for the rest of his life which is sad.

    • Yep, “letting go” is the key phrase Jeannette. It’s not always easy when we’ve held on to something so long. When we can or when we do it is very freeing. 🙂

  • Phoenicia

    Love this blog!

    It is written with such transparency and enthusiasm.

    Children are greatly affected by even small incidences. I know I was as a child and it has to some degree shaped my thinking/reactions as an adult.

    Can I ask how long you have been a blogger?

    • Hi Phoenicia and welcome, Thank you for your kind words. I agree, early perceptions can form our thinking for many years. To answer your question; I’ve been blogging for a little over 3 years. 🙂