Shifting Perceptions for Labels put on Objects and People – Gossip – Picture to Ponder v7-35

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 30, 2011

If you are in a business and looking to learn more about how Social Media can impact your business, I invite you to consider my friend Ellen Britt’s second annual, Ice Cream Social Media sale. It includes 13 different programs, covering the wide spectrum of all the different ways you can use the full gamut of the web and social media to your advantage.

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For this posting, I looked for what photos might go along with the spirit of Ellen’s package title. Given I do not have any ice cream photos, I went with the following two. Further explanations are below the photos.

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos –

Ice cubes through the glass - mojitio drink

color and reflections through acrylic sculpture

Two very different photos, they are both focused on looking through an object.

The top photo is looking at the ice and liquid in a cocktail beverage of someone across the table from me in a restaurant. It’s the closest I could come to the “feel” of ice cream and I selected it for the shapes and textures.

Also those of you who enjoy finding imagery in Picture to Ponder photos might appreciate the green “Dumbo, the elephant” sitting on a cube, near the lower right portion of the photo. Now that I’m looking I see additional faces in the photo.

The bottom photo was taken looking through a small segment of an acrylic sculpture on a table in a friend’s house. The colors, as I looked at the photograph, appeared bright and gave off a feeling of celebration. It thus seemed to fit the idea of the Ice Cream Social Media sale.

After a several minute discussion with the friend in whose home the sculpture resides, attempting to determine at what we were actually looking, the photograph began to elicit a whole different, less pleasing, response.

Rather than interfere with and color your reaction here, I’ll share further in the SRQs, next.

Self-Reflecting Queries
As usual today’s photos can be filtered through the lenses of shifting perceptions. This time we’ll be looking at what happens when we add “labels”, put “names” on things we see.

When Sheila, my above-mentioned friend, finally determined that what we were seeing through the acrylic was the woven wicker armrest of her sofa with a pillow next to it, we both began to react differently to the imagery.

As soon as we started identifying and naming the actual elements in the picture I became caught up in my opinions around them and started assessing the composition of the photograph.

No longer was I able to simply enjoy the colors and rhythm in the image.

This becomes somewhat akin to the “gossip” conversation, putting something in the space, good or bad, which had not been there before. This could be as simple as stating, “Did you ever notice how she always wears red?” You hadn’t and you don’t particularly like the color.

Now, you are faced with something between you and the third person that had never been there before. The irony of this is that it was a totally unintentional remark, not meant to damage anything. Yet you may now relate to that person in a different, restricted way.

I invite you to look into your life. Are there people, things or situations to which you are responding based on the descriptive words that have been added to them? Is there is a situation in which you are feeling distaste?

If so, what would it take to strip the situation of those labels? Can you reframe them?

As always, have fun, and please share on the blog what comes up for you.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgine August 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Sheila,

What a PERFECT metaphor regarding the second photo. Like you I just totally ENJOYED the colors, the flow, the energy of it. It felt as if it were moving, even being a still photo. Yet when I read further, all the enjoyment left, seeing the pillow and the chair! This so FITS into my current contemplation and learning in my life to always come from a place of TOTAL NEUTRALITY. I do this process releasing all thoughts which arise, then emotions and then physical sensations through a window in my heart and they just dissolve. I see them evaporate ..until I feel clear and connected to my client or friend, whomever. Only from this space, with no past or future, no agenda, no judgements, nothing, can I clearly be with whatever arises, like in your beautiful photos!! Great example of when we label something, our PERSPECTIVE automatically changes and what I learned is I have hundreds of these operating without my knowing. If you always wore red colored glasses since childhood, the same colors would look different for you than me. Some would be very unappealing, like green would look brown for instance. Yet you would not even know, unless someone could remove the glasses so you could see things differently!! You would assume we had the same point of view! THAT is my goal in life, to REMOVE all glasses and be “with the truth of the moment”! Thanks for the story!

Reply

Sheila Finkelstein August 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Beautifully expressed, Morgine.

Thank you for adding and sharing your experience here. Would that we all get to that space of total neutrality. How much richer might our experiences be!

Reply

Peggy Kemp August 31, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hi Sheila,

I really enjoy the differences in the way people see things. I’m pretty literal at first – I saw both pictures for what they were immediately, a glass of ice and pillow on a chair – and then started enjoying them. I got lost in the “glacier in a glass” – it looked like a little icy world, and I was delighted to see the green Dumbo sliding down an ice bank. I love all those colors in the pillow and the movement in the curved shapes.

The really interesting thing to me about your reflection was your characterization of comments as gossip. Then I went back and re-read it:

“This becomes somewhat akin to the “gossip” conversation, putting something in the space, good or bad, which had not been there before. This could be as simple as stating, “Did you ever notice how she always wears red?” You hadn’t and you don’t particularly like the color. Now, you are faced with something between you and the third person that had never been there before. The irony of this is that it was a totally unintentional remark, not meant to damage anything. Yet you may now relate to that person in a different, restricted way. ”

I appreciate the irony implicit in making a seemingly innocuous comment and having it reverberate out in the other person in a way we can’t plan or determine.

As usual, your comments are spot-on (I sometimes wonder if you have a secret camera into my life) – I’m reacting to a person and recent experience based on my memory and mental comment on them – and definitely need to re-frame the whole thing in a more positive light.

Reply

Sheila Finkelstein September 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Hi Peggy,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful, in-depth response here. I’m smiling that you saw the pillow on the chair immediately. As I think I wrote, both the artist’s in whose home I took and photograph and I spent five or more minutes on the phone, on our respective computers, attempting to identify what I had photographed. I’m thinking perhaps because my initial query to her was, “What is the basket?”, or “Where is it?” So neither of us got as far as looking at the pillow, which is so obvious now.

Thanks for sharing also your response the “gossip” conversation and your experience with it. You moved me to tears with your comment on wondering if I have a “secret camera” into your life. The tears come from being confronted, yes “confronted”, with the power, and responsibility, of what’s put forth at times in Picture to Ponder. The synchronicity of this is amazing sometimes, how it often shows up with varying, specific individuals at particular moments, when most needed.

Again, thanks for being you, your authenticity and your sharing here.

Reply

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