Only when you change perception can you change how you feel about an experience. What you assume or believe happened in an experience and what it meant about you, is just your perception of that event—a wholly made up perception courtesy of your beliefs. And since you made it up in the first instance, you can change your perception at any time. Your perception is the personal lens through which you view your version of reality but for any given experience there could have been other versions, better or worse, had your lens been different. Your aim, therefore, is to learn to adjust your lens so that what you focus on, assume and believe serve you.
There are three techniques for changing a past negative experience such that it no longer causes you pain or stands in the way of your success. The first is to change perception by imagining yourself acting and reacting differently in an experience as if you had different beliefs at the time, which in turn changes your perception about it. The second is to leave the past where it belongs—in the past—through Mental Time Travel. And the third is to revise the experience by imagining a different experience—the one you wish you had experienced with no concern for the details of the original.
This article focuses on the first method of how to change perception. The article How to Leave the Past Behind focuses on the second method, and finally, the article How to Change the Past with Revision is about the third method, which itself is based on the teachings of Neville Goddard.
What follows is a simple 5-step technique to change perception about a past negative experience. You can repeat this exercise until it feels real to you, meaning that you feel that your perception has changed. You can use it for any experience that you want to change or perhaps alternatively even strengthen your perception about it.
The first step to change perception is to identify a past negative experience that you know is holding you back in life and you want to change perception about it so as to be free of its influence. Once you have an experience in mind, identify the limiting beliefs that caused you to have the negative experience in the first instance and to perceive it in the way that you did.
The second step is to bring to your mind the negative experience that you want to change your perception about. In a relaxed mental state with your eyes closed, and without judging the experience itself, neutrally imagine it as if observing it from the outside as you do a movie—how it started, how you felt, where it took place, why it was negative for you and how you reacted. As you continue to neutrally watch the scene unfolding through to its end, get a sense of how your beliefs about life and yourself made you perceive the experience as negative. Notice how in this relaxed state of mind, neutrally watching the scene, that you can change your perception if you want.
Next, having identified the negative beliefs that caused that experience in the first instance, imagine how differently you would have felt had your beliefs about yourself and life been different. For instance, had you had more self-love, self-esteem and self-confidence when an important relationship ended; or had you had no attachment to money and no fear of failure when your business was in trouble. Sense how your perception of that experience would have been different if your beliefs were different. Feel how you would have felt if you already had those beliefs.
Next, imagine yourself acting or reacting based on those positive beliefs, only this time project your consciousness into the scene that you are imagining so that you experience it from a first-person perspective and in the moment.
Imagine, for instance, that you love yourself and trust life—how would the end of a relationship cause you to feel? Would you not leave the relationship gracefully with your head held up high and your self-esteem intact? Perhaps you may even be grateful for the relationship even though it has ended while having no doubt you will meet someone else. Yes, you may still feel the loss because of the break-up but what the break-up means about you would be very different. Whereas in the past you may have believed that your partner broke up with you because you were not good enough, now your self-love reigns supreme and so the experience and your perception have been transmuted.
Let's look at another example of how to change perception. If you believe that all things work in your favour and success comes easily to you, would you be panic-stricken if your business was in trouble or your job was at stake? Would you not feel confident that whatever happens, you always manage to succeed? Perhaps you would even have clearer and better ideas about how to favourably turn the situation around if you wanted to. Again, if your business did fail or you lost your job, you may still feel disappointed because of the loss but what the loss means about you would be very different. Whereas before you would have perhaps told yourself that you're a failure, now you see the opportunity for a new start and even greater success, and again the experience and your perception have changed for the better.
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Finally, when you truly feel what it would feel like to change perception of your experience based on your changed beliefs, you will notice how any sense of disempowerment has been transmuted into one of empowerment and inner peace. Feel how the experience doesn't matter as much anymore or how you even feel stronger for it.
From this place of inner strength and peace of mind, take a deep breath and as you exhale release the experience knowing your perception has changed and that from now on it will serve your greatest success. With a sense of gratitude, mentally count upwards and slowly open your eyes. Get on with your life with your changed perception and your new beliefs firmly planted within you. Repeat this technique as often as you feel necessary.
Changing perception of an experience does not mean you deny its occurrence. Rather, changing perception means to see something from a different vantage point, through different eyes, as if changing your perspective. It doesn't mean the experience didn't happen. It simply means that you attach a different meaning to an otherwise neutral event, which you defined to begin with. It is you who attaches meaning to all your experiences, so you may as well attach a meaning that serves you. And the fastest way to attach a new meaning to an event is to feel how you would feel about it if your beliefs about yourself and life were different.
This technique can also be applied to any unwanted experience that you are currently going through. First, stop identifying with the experience by removing the emotional charge as much as possible. You can do this by rising above the experience and watching it as if from above. You can then change perception by identifying your negative underlying beliefs and feeling how you would feel if your beliefs were positive. You can then imagine a different outcome for yourself than the one that was most probable based on your negative beliefs. You will find that you will be able to deal with the situation far more calmly and effectively with inspired rather than desperate action. You will also find solutions that were otherwise invisible to you.
This article is aimed at those negative experiences, past and present, that you know are the consequence of your negative beliefs about yourself, relationships, money, life in general and so on. It is not aimed at directly dealing with the death of a loved one, although its principles can generally be applied. Death can be an undeniably heart-wrenching experience.
Even so, it is often our false perception about the finality of death that makes its pain so acute because of our ignorance. If you could change perception and see the Truth that death is a new beginning for those who have left the Physical Plane, rather than the final fall of a curtain, you would alleviate much of the pain that you may carry with you as a result of it. Indeed, death is a transition into a new Plane and perhaps one that is infinitely better than the Physical Plane, not the end.
As Albert Einstein said, "You can never solve a problem at the level at which it was created". In our context of experiences, perceptions and beliefs, this means that you cannot expect to find a solution to a problem created by a negative belief if you are still operating at the level of that negative belief. The solution, therefore, is to change the belief. And by changing the belief you change perception and so the influence of the experience itself changes.
By Tania Kotsos — Updated NOV 2020
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