January 30, 2017

Perception is in the eye of the beholder

As I write this, I am being harassed by my neighbours.

Not my home neighbours, but my commercial ones.

It’s not a pleasant position to be in at all and it’s been going on since I took possession of this building.

But it got me thinking about perception. How we see ourselves versus how others see us.

You know, we are all the heroes of our own stories. Our actions and reactions are coloured by our personal bias.

Maybe my neighbours think they’re in the right here. They are acting like wronged parties.

I know I’m in the right in our disagreement. Legally anyway.

I moved in here with big plans to add some life to my small town. Painting classes, special mini-gallery shows and more. I wanted to encourage and foster creativity in my community. Because creativity in any form matters and makes a difference.

The dispute is a simple one: I’ve asked my neighbours not to use my driveway. It’s private property and I wanted to reserve it for my customers and clients. They already have their own driveway and access to their property from that end.

They’ve taken exception to that request and right now the hostility is at a level where I may have to call in the police to get them to back down.

Every in-person encounter I’ve had with them has been polite from my end. But definitely not in their favour.

So why am I sharing this?

It’s not to get more people on my side, I’m not that childish. It’s a way for me to process my feelings about this whole thing.

I want people to like me. I think most of us feel the same way. Not everyone will, but this response has been over-the-top extreme.

I haven’t experienced this level of hostility from any one since secondary school. It’s both foreign and oddly familiar. I’m not in my teenage head space and this fits like a badly-tailored shirt. Neither the shirt nor I look good right now.

I’m not sure where to go from here regarding the dispute. I feel like backing down would be a mistake, but maybe that’s my ego talking.

But I do know that I’m going to spend a lot of time thinking about self-perception. That maybe even though I’m right, and the law and my landlord stand behind me, I’ve been wrong to enforce the restrictions.

In the meantime I’m going to try to clean up the energy here in my space so I can paint again. This has really harshed my cool, but I’ve got too much to do to let it slow me down.


My realtor came to visit and gave me some words of wisdom, which I’m grateful for. She told me to ignore my neighbours. Just stop devoting energy to them.

It’s good advice and I need to spend my energy on painting anyway. My life is larger than this little dispute.

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