Earlier this year, I went through an identity crisis because I realized that there was not a single person who fully understood me. It’s not that I’m so deep and complex that the mere mortal mind can’t get a read on me. If anything, I’m pretty ordinary. The problem came when I’d tell people details about my life, and they’d spin them in ways that were not exactly right. This wasn’t done maliciously; it’s just the way the world works. It’s natural to make assumptions based off of how people carry themselves, and the stories they choose to tell. And those assumptions will not always be accurate. But being the paranoid individual that I am, I took every wrong impression to heart.
I wanted everyone to know me as I was. But the thing is, that’s not possible.
People tend to build others up in their minds or tear them down based on certain characteristics that are very individualized. For example, I hate when people knock country music. It’s a bit ironic since I’m not a fan of it myself. But I grew up on it, and it has a weirdly nostalgic place in my heart. Therefore, when someone goes out of their way to say how trashy it is, I immediately make certain assumptions about their character. It’s not entirely fair, but that’s just the way it is. And that’s what took me so long to understand; that nobody knows everyone’s history. You can’t go out of your way to please everyone because something as trivial as saying that you don’t like a music genre can turn someone off for reasons you can’t even begin to know.
There comes a point where you have to learn to trust yourself more than others. If you know who you are, then it doesn’t really matter what other people think. And it’s a lot easier said than done to be confident and sure of yourself. But once you’re surrounded by people who at least mostly understand, then you'll find it a lot easier to define who you want to be.
The fact of the matter is that there is not a single person who will ever fully understand you because to get everything out of you, they have to be you. You can tell someone every mistake, triumph, secret, and quirk, yet they will still view you through their own lens. And rather than being frustrating, it’s kind of nice.
I’ve messed up more than enough times. I’ve offended people, fallen out of favor, and been the bad guy. I’d like to say that I’m a better person due to those incidents. But I’ve met people who can’t get past them. I’ve met people who hold grudges over who I was, and who I’ll never be again. But I’ve also known people who see me through rose colored glasses; who see something good in me that I don’t see in myself. And these opinions, both good and bad, have allowed me to decide which parts of these versions of myself I want to keep.