Personal Fact & Fiction

Perceptions are powerful. They are a representation of who we claim to be and how others see us. But they are not necessarily true. Some live their entire lives as an illusion, hiding their true nature from themselves and others. Perceptions can be biased based on personal experience, history, or perspective. Perception of oneself can be equally skewed due to the same biases. Perhaps our self-perception can be biased even more so than the perception of others. Yet, these are our ‘truths’. The same stories we tell ourselves every day.

For this exercise we will explore some of the perceptions we have about ourselves and how we feel others perceive us. We will explore whether it is fact or fiction, and why we tell ourselves these things if they are detrimental. What purpose do you have in repeating the same negative fiction? How can you project in a different way to alter the negative perceptions of you?

“Perception is almost always greater than reality” Donald Lynn Frost

“We do not see the world as the world is, we see the world as we are” Stephen Covey

“The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of you rather than people’s perception of you” Criss Jami

The exercise:
For this activity, you have the option to create your own entry, or print and fill the attached page. You can be as simple or as intense as you’d like using materials. Anything from pencil crayons to acrylic paints will do. As always, I use a combination of materials: ink, acrylic paint, watercolour, pencil, china marker, gesso.

Fill the page with circles, some small and some large. Inside of these circles, write something you think about yourself (positive or negative), and also write what you think to be others’ perception of you (positive or negative). Focus on each bubble, and question whether this is really true, or if this is a false perception you or someone else has about you.

While completing this activity, focus on these questions: If it is not real, what purpose does that perception serve? If it is you, does it feed a negative feeling you have about yourself? If it is someone else, what does it do for them? Or perhaps your view of how others see you is wrong. Is there a pattern? What side of yourself are you presenting to the world? Are you pretending to be something you’re not to alter others’ perceptions of you? Can you change the way you are perceived or which stories you are feeding yourself?

Once you are finished, pick two colours. One to represent truth, and one to represent fiction. Cover each bubble with the color you chose to represent the fact and the fake. Some may be a mix of both. Colour them accordingly.


It’s time to discover the true person you are underneath all of the layers of ‘act’ and ‘behavior’ and ‘presentation’. It is time to stop believing the lies you tell yourself. I hope that this exercise is one small step in the lifelong journey to getting to know the REAL you.

Bri Ketler

Bri Ketler is a thirty-something mother of two, artist, crafter, and volunteer in the Calgary area. A Calgary native, she decided to spread her wings and move to Edinburgh, Scotland in 2001 to pursue a degree in the arts.She graduated with her BA in Art and Design from Edinburgh College of Art in 2005.

She worked as an Interior Designer in Calgary until her passion for art overwhelmed her desire for wealth and fame.When she is not chasing after her two young kids, she is teaching art to teen girls in need and creating dolls for her small handcrafting business, Lil’Zo.

Bri believes that art is a powerful outlet, and many internal issues can be confronted, exposed, and resolved by simply letting go and allowing oneself to be creative – even if they don’t believe they are the ‘creative type’. Everyone can benefit from getting over their fears, and simply putting pen to paper, paint to canvas, click a shutter, put hands on clay, or whatever medium one chooses. Find her online here.

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