I had a profound experience tonight. I did something that I intended as a small kindness to a friend, however, its impact was way over and above my humble intention! They were very positively influenced – much to my delight, and surprise.
This helped me realise, as never before, that we really do judge others by their actions – and we judge ourselves by our intentions. I also realised that my friend loved their perception of me – their thought-construct they have of me – not the real me. Who can know the real me? I don’t even know myself. Only God is really said to know the real person. This is why it is unwise to judge others.
However, this was not the big breakthrough for me. The breakthrough for me was the realisation that the perception of others has little to do with the “truth”. Whilst true intimacy can only come from two or more people knowing each other deeply enough to know the truth about one another and still love each other, true intimacy is rare. In day to day relationships – building a positive perception is often the kindest way to act. Not everyone needs to know the whole truth. When they ask you, “How are you?” not many people really want to know! Edify them with a positive comment – don’t burden strangers down with the “truth” of how you really feel.
I went through a “christian” stage of telling everyone the “truth in love”. Really what I was doing was getting stuff off my chest. One of my wiser bretheren said to me, “Now who feels better; you or I?” He was right – I’d shared some home truths that he didn’t realise. I then felt unburdened, but all I had done was change his perception of me from positive to negative. That’s not wisdom. That’s not love.
I’ve been way too honest – for my own selfish ends. Let’s see what happens when we feed other people’s positive perceptions of us – and save deep intimacy for the “Inner Circle” of friends and family… if at all.