“What you see is what you get” this is a statement that I used for many years. Looking back this statement sounds as if I am being transparent, saying “this is who I am” the ugly truth is I had a very small understanding of who I was. To people I said “look at me” on the outside but on the inside I was saying “I am fearful I may not be who you think I am.” The perception I had of myself was chaotic, I didn’t understand myself so I put a mask and acted as if I didn’t care. In reality I knew I made many mistakes but I gave the impression of a careless person. The fear of rejection was great and so was just the thought of it, so the perception most friends had of me was far from transparent.
My perception stood, that I would not get any better than the repetitive mistakes I made. I felt as if I deserved a lot of the pain that came my way in life. We are our worst enemy, condemning ourselves, with that perception can come a lot of heartache. We are a unique people, God breathed life into us, a divine creation and yet we look in the mirror we can see our guilt shame or even beauty and pain. It all comes down what our perception is of ourselves. What is on the outside is the reflection of what we see on the inside.
I had a certain way of viewing things and thought perception was black and white. I thought people may not all agree with my views but they must have understood them. The way I viewed things before, I believe, was due to my environment. The way I see things and people now as a women of faith, a wife, married to a man in prison are much different, more compassionate. In the perception process stereo typing was a part of who I was.
I thought women who married men in prison had low self-esteem and were being taken advantage of. My sympathy did not reach far, though they were married to men in prison, which was partial truth, I generalized all women in this area has gullible. I also hid the fact that I was married for the first six months because I was worried how others would stereo type me. Due to the fact we have to deal with how people may perceive us in the negative view. We have used the negotiation component of perception.
How I have used negotiation in my marriage was by researching and seeking guidance with mentors on my marriage. I use to neglect my husband’s needs and was not empathetic of the fact he was incarcerated, due to how I perceived women in my situation. My faith is also another reason I was able to see that my marriage does matter. Through negotiation I realized we said our vows the same as any man and women when they get married. My vows are to honor my husband and to be by his side through thick and thin. I see marriage as a sacred union so just because my husband in prison doesn’t undervalue our vows. I have also realized that just because a person is incarcerated that doesn’t mean they should be deprived of love.