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A conversation with an old friend today got me thinking.
This was someone who had once been close to me, but no longer featured in my day-to-day life. “I know you,” he said. I scoffed in agreement (because that’s my way), but in my brain, I pondered over this statement in true overthinker style.
Yeah, he knew me. Well, he knew a version of me. But did he know me? Does he know me now? Am I even the same person I was last month, last week, or yesterday?
Our experiences shape who we are, that much I can get on board with. We are all manifestations of what we have seen and been through—childhood traumas, heartbreaks, career moves, parents’ divorce and marriages, becoming parents, losing someone, even moving home. All of these events edit our personalities, our psychological makeup, the blueprint that forms our unique personalities.
People change. Events reshape us. Our perspectives shift. We realign our goals, our objectives. We change course. All the time, navigating our way through life often takes us on a path we didn’t choose, forces us to drop anchor in destinations we would never have expected.
I know that in the last 12 months my world has shifted significantly. Does that make me the same person with a new pair of shoes or a new person in the shoes I’ve always worn?
Do we ever truly know anyone?
Sure, I am physically recognizable. Same face and the same body, same laugh, same smile, and voice. But, internally, I am a much different person than who I was. I have always been a chameleon, able to adapt to different environments and friendship groups. I have a handful of ride or die friends who have known me from an early age. I am not saying that people cannot form bonds, or understand each other’s eccentricities and specific personality traits, but can anyone really attest to truly knowing anyone at all?
I believe that there is only one person who can confidently say, they know me—me.
Yes, many people are close to us, lovers, friends, parents, but they only really ever know a perception of you, a version they choose to see, a diluted version of events. Their interpretation of you belongs to them, not you.
The only person who knows you entirely is you. We know the conscious and subconscious, we know the deep-rooted fears, we have experienced the highs, the joys, and the losses. We are the voices of reason, the devils on our own shoulders, and on many occasions our own guardian angels.
Thus, it’s best to not get lost in the judgments of others, the well-wishers and critics, but to look inward—to make friends with each part of ourselves, to know, and to love ourselves fully.
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