The dualistic approach to perception


Tunnel vision perception is something that can limit your perception in most situations. Going through a tunnel does not allow you to see the surroundings outside the tunnel wall as if your capabilities are restricted by a single failure. Well-being is a central topic discussed nowadays in almost all fields, especially in certain branches of psychology. Positive psychology is one such branch that highlights human well-being. Being positive and the importance of being positive are often highlighted by many. Is it because we tend to be negative as human beings or do we come across so called negative incidents in life? The answer is too long and descriptive; hence, let us leave that question behind.

By and large, life is undoubtedly full of ups and downs. Individuals being only driven to accept so called ‘ups’ is not a very good ploy since facing ‘downs’ would then be much harder. As per the model of well-being proposed by Carol Ryff, self-acceptance is one of the key determinants of well-being.

Self-acceptance does not mean one becomes entirely passive before each and every event; yet, it is accepting multiple aspects of life including good and bad. In other words, it is like adjusting your perception in front of different events/incidents in life. According to her model of well-being, she also highlights five other pillars that determine human well- being. They are: purpose in life, personal growth, autonomy, environmental mastery and positive relations with others. Although the rest of the factors determine well-being, they can often be challenged by multiple causes.

For instance, one’s personal growth can be hindered or delayed by certain uncontrollable incidents. Even positive relations can also be influenced by factors beyond your control. Unexpected incidents can happen; and being ready to face them is very important. As Yalom the philosopher mentions, there are inevitable possibilities in life such as isolation, meaninglessness, death and freedom. Those possibilities are inevitable realities in life. The main objective of forming relationships is to overcome isolation. But, in a situation where you have to separate from your loved ones you can witness isolation.

Meaningless is experienced when hopes are shattered. When a person is jobless, freedom or the vacuum is visible. When a terminal illness knocks on the door, people tend to panic. Yalom therefore explains life is full of inevitable realities as such. Seeing and accepting this dualistic nature in life is important to lead a balanced life. Therefore, adjustment of your perception is vital in facing situations in life. Positive thinking is therefore not merely driving yourself towards one extreme; it is broader than how it is generally perceived.

By Dr. Ashoke Priyadarshana – Psychologist