Do you know me?

How our expectations of a person may differ from the truth

There are people who are sure that they do know you. And there are people who really do. Of course we don't show each of our sides to every person, it differs depending on how close we are and how we are treated. I wouldn't say that I do know every side of my closest friends - I'm not their lover, their mother, their father, their sibling, their ex, their boss... - but since we are close I know many sides of them. Sides they wouldn't show to anybody. Same for me.

My friends have seen me in my weakest moments, they know my dark sides, know my deficiencies and know my strengths. And still, they know that people change, that there are things in every one of us that can come out in special moments, in certain situations - and when with challenging or loving people. Sometimes we can be the thorn, sometimes the rose that blossoms, decays or closes.


I know a person who should think positively about me and see more in me. But he sees less than most strangers would do. He only sees the weakness, thinks that my only thoughts are the things that I have spoken out, argues that my feelings are spurious and my emotions feigned. He doesn't think that my character has any depth. He projects his anger onto me and wants me to act and behave in a certain way. He doesn't want to see who I am, he just tries to see the person he wants to see in me. Not a good person, but a weak person, a mean person. I want to follow my own fate and not his - he can't accept it. He expects me to fail - or at least that's what he says. And he doesn't think that I have any talents - only the one that was helpful to him. I chose physical and emotional distance from him as some form of self-defense. Even though I love him a lot.


We all have a certain opinion about everyone. That's natural. We expect people to act in a certain way, maybe even feel and think in a certain way. It's a big mistake that we do. Our expectations may be true, but maybe they aren't. I try to see different possibilities, try to empathize with people even if they mess up. Everyone has a past, has a background that makes him act the way he does. We, people, usually try to do the best we can, just that we don't know what's best sometimes and how to deal with our history and emotions.


I remember one of the bullies in my class. He could be a very mean person, showing his weakness and trying to feel strong by hurting people's feelings. But different to most bullies you could also see his light. He was a believer and a good person - just not to everybody and not to me. When he would be outside his circle of friends he would act differently, be an attentive listener, be trustful to you and wise in his words. With his friends he would be non of it. I thought that he had been one of the popular kids until I realized in senior class that he wasn't (anymore). He had some friends, but he wasn't popular. He asked me to black his name in seniors' magazine because he had been voted Mr. ... in some unpopular categories. It came unsuspected to me to see him in these categories, but it didn't come unsuspected to him. Many people were annoyed by him. I thought that he wouldn't care, that he would be above those things, but he took care, it was bothering him. When he talked to me I realized that he wasn't that different than me: He was vulnerable, too. He just didn't show it transparently.


People have different sides. They just don't show every side to every person.
That person who hurt my feelings a lot when I was in middle school is one of the few persons from high school in whose hands I would lay my life. I trust him somehow. Because I have seen his light and know that his heart is good.
Let's try to find nice words to describe the people around us even if they drive us crazy. Let's try to see each other's lights or at least the spark that might be illuminated one day. Let's be friendly and positive with each other. Why not believe in each other? And keep distance to the ones who (try to) make us feel less. Keep closeness to the ones who make us feel more. Not by overestimating ourselves, not by ignoring our faults, but by accepting us for who we are.