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Sandy Journal

Local couple change their lives by adjusting their perceptions

Mar 16, 2020 02:30PM ● By Stephanie DeGraw

James and Steph Purpura, a Utah couple who changed their perceptions and changed their lives. They have released the film “Perception: Seeing Is Not Believing.” (Photo provided)

By Stephanie DeGraw | [email protected]

A Utah couple went from emotional and financial despair to changing their perception and creating the life of their dreams in a new documentary “Perception: Seeing Is Not Believing.”

The film is the journey of James and Steph Purpura, who met when they were at rock bottom. The movie's jarring opening scene grabs the viewer. In a story of fighting against all odds, the couple overcomes severe mental battles, trauma and adversity by shifting their mindset. 

This movie looks deep into how their false perceptions of self brought disastrous outcomes. "The perception that I always believed about myself was that I was unlovable because I was sexually abused. I never told because I was threatened," Steph said. Adding to her feelings was the divorce her parents were going through. "My dad had decided that he wasn't going to be a dad anymore. My dad left, and it just reiterated the fact that I was unlovable."

Because she believed these misconceptions, she coped with her pain through eating disorders and cutting. When she became older, she got into unhealthy relationships. At one point, she made a suicide attempt. It failed, and she wondered how she could rebuild her life. 

"What do you do after that? You still feel the same. I didn't know why I survived," she said. "I didn't know that you should love yourself. I didn't know I could give myself the love that I needed. I thought I had to look for it on the outside. And I could never find it." 

When a person has a negative perception, they can't see beyond their understanding. But there is something more significant on the other side of it. If you tell yourself you suck and no one will love you over and over, then you will believe it, she said.

To point herself in a new direction, Steph started writing in a journal about who she wanted to be. She wrote down she would no longer tolerate abuse from anyone. "I had to start loving myself before anyone else could love me,” she said. She knew she had to change her mindset and writing goals. "If you are not growing, then you can't become your true authentic self."

Steph met her husband, James Purpura, 15 years ago, when he was at his lowest point as well. The two decided to create a new, positive life. The couple supported each other to clear away their barriers to self-fulfillment. They focused on the power of perception to change self-limiting beliefs. Soon this allowed them to love themselves and find opportunities. Their personal growth skyrocketed the rapid growth of their tech company. Later, when they sold the company, they decided to help others full time. The couple created a seminar company, Powerful U, to share their knowledge so others may achieve personal development.

In the film, woven between the life stories of the couple are comments by experts: Trent Shelton, a motivational speaker and former NFL player, and Beau Lotto, world-renowned neuroscientist and entrepreneur. James Purpura co-stars and directs the film. Supporting actors include Lilian Garcia, Henry Ammar, Tom Bilyeu and Kamrin Carver. Producers are Denver Robbins, G. Mitchell Johnson and Aaron Alviso Stephenson. The documentary won Best Picture and Best Documentary at the 2019 Los Angeles Film Awards.