Before I get started, let me make clear that I’m not feeling sorry for myself. My life is blessed in many ways. As I continue in this crazy life I realize more and more about perception and how it is, indeed, reality. Look at our political landscape. There is nary an issue the left supports nor believes in that makes any sense yet millions upon millions swear by the ideology and will attack you mercilessly if you disagree. It doesn’t matter how you turn the phrase or how much proof you show. The fact is,they will only believe what they perceive to be right and will do all they canto denigrate you into oblivion. I face the same sort of thing in my life. I have been blessed with a loud, deep voice and a pretty quick wit. It’s served me well in what I do and has also been the reason for angst on several occasions. The initial perception of me is I’m loud, arrogant, cocky, rude and without tact. Of course, the only truth there is that I’m loud. But, that doesn’t change the perception of many. I find that if I’m direct, that’s wrong. If I’m confident,that’s bad. If I’m unwilling to compromise my values or beliefs to make someone else feel better, I’m something *ist or*aphobic. But, my heart is always in the right place and I’m always out for the better good — almost never putting me first. Sounds untrue but it’s not. I had a conversation with someone close to me recently who had been through something traumatic. I was there for this person and came to save the day as is my charge in life. Then waited a couple of days before having a serious conversation about what the next steps should be. I was soft in tone and direct about how it wasn’t this person’s fault and how others involved should face some serious music for their actions. The person shutdown suggesting I wasn’t coming at him or her the right way. I should take it down five notches. I was confused but felt good about the fact that there were two other family members in the room who could clearly hear every word and the levels of tone used. To my surprise, they agreed with this person. I felt like I had lost all grasp of reality. How was that possible? What did I miss? Here I was on a rare day off doing my best to better someone else’s life and make sure someone else didn’t get away with doing something wrong. I was walking on eggs and near a whisper, yet I was somehow the ogre. I do a lot of reflecting as I continue growing in this amazing experience of life. I think many people always put number 1 first. What’s best for them at any given moment is what they decide to do. Not knocking it, just not how I’m put together. I feel good about how I’ve managed my life that way. What I always fail to realize, however, is how I’m perceived. In a perfect world,that wouldn’t matter. Fact is fact. Truth is truth. If your perception isn’t based on those things, you’re the problem. Frankly,that’s not how it works. I’m big, loud,direct and convicted. I have continued learning and praying I gain the knowledge that sometimes I need take a breath and consider who’s ingesting what I’m offering and, perhaps, predetermine the reaction before saying it. By the way, this won’t affect how I do my job. This is more about my personal life away from the microphone. I will admit, however,I’m different on the air today than I was decades ago as I continue to grow in that realm as well. But, in my day-to-day life, it’s clear I must continue to consider the mindset and philosophical location of the person to whom I’m speaking. I’m big enough to admit this is a huge challenge for me.