Sometimes people surprise us. Sometimes they outright shock us. Sometimes they turn out to not be at all who we thought they were. And sometimes the clues were right in front of our noses the entire time. Maybe we don’t want to see them for who they are, or maybe the truth seems impossible. Maybe we just want to think the best of those we think we know.
We often hear of “things” people do on the news, and can’t believe they could do such things. We wonder how they could sleep at night. We wonder if they just thought they wouldn’t get caught. We feel sorry for their families. We’re glad we don’t know them. What happens when it turns out to be someone you know?
There are people we consider to be kind and generous individuals. Sometimes they have problems that we are not aware of. They can even be overtaken by addictions we didn’t know about. It might be alcohol, drugs, sex, or gambling. They hurt people in the process of supplying their own needs. They might not mean to hurt people, but everyone within their path is affected in some way. We are disappointed in them and ache for their families.
This brings me to the point of wondering how well we really know others. We can be friends with people for years and not know them on an intimate level. You only get to know people as well as they allow you unless you have a gift of seeing things beneath the surface. And even these types of difficulties get past the radar. You can work with someone for many years and still have no idea what they do when they leave the workplace each evening. You can go to church with someone and work charitable events with them and not have any idea what kind of a person they are inside. You assume because they go to church and give to charity that they are good inside…and maybe they are but just got caught up in something bigger than themselves.
How well does the average person really know himself? Maybe he knows what he likes or dislikes. Does he really know what motivates him to make the decisions he does in life? Is it his genetic makeup? Is it his belief system? Is it his personality? Is it his environment? Is it his family? What propels him to move forward in life? Does he reflect on his choices to help him know himself and push him to become a better person?
The next time you are shocked at someone’s action or reactions, think about how well you really know that person. Do you know them well enough to predict their movements? Are they really who you thought they were or did you only know the mask they were wearing? Could you see something wasn’t quite right? Were you close enough to offer assistance? Are you who everyone thinks you are? Finally, do you even know who you are?