I often wonder if the world sees me as I see myself.
Do people perceive me as I really am?
Am I what I think I am? I don’t even know.
For some reason, when we exhale into the world, we disguise ourselves according to the context we are breathing in. We unconsciously blend in. We say what we think we should say, not what we really want to say.
Does that change who we are?
I envy those who have the courage to stand out. They embrace their awkwardness, their creativity, their uniqueness. I tend to hide mine. Deep in the confines of my head.
Blending in puts you in a safety bubble, where you are overlooked by most and ignored by many.
In one of Maria Popova’s amazing essays, “7 things I learned in 7 years of reading, writing and living“, she teaches us something – paraphrasing Maya Angelou – that I personally took to heart: “When someone tells you who they are, believe them. When someone tries to tell you who you are, don’t believe them”.
Life is perception.
A friend once told me that I was arrogant. I’m really not. But she perceived me as being arrogant, because of how I spoke. In thoughts, however, my speech sounded very different.
Life is perception.
“You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.” (Maria Popova)
If I consider myself kind, considerate and thoughtful – which I do – does it mean that I am also being perceived as kind, considerate and thoughtful by others?
In contrast, if others think me to be arrogant, rude and stubborn, should I be worried? Is it possible that they are right?
A few weeks ago, a friend gave his opinion on a topic we were discussing. My response was perceived as arrogant, rude and stubborn by him (and maybe it was, to some extent). I spent the following week thinking about what he said and eventually decided that he was right. I called him back and told him so. An apology of sorts. Am I still arrogant, rude and stubborn?
No. I’m human.
Life is perception. And humility.
A poem I wrote 8 years ago, when I realized that throughout life I’d often be misunderstood:
In my lifetime
I have passed by a million people
unseen untouched unspoken
I have breathed their air
and shared their glances
looked deep into their souls
passed by them in acute silence.
I now encounter myself in the future
and I find myself