Do we ever know anyone at all? Consider how well you know your parents. You have lived with them for years and know many of their funny ways, which buttons not to press, what will bring you brownie points, and on top of that, you share their genetic make-up.
Think about the thoughts that cross your mind over a minute, an hour or a day. Do you think anyone around you would be surprised if your thoughts were projected onto a movie screen for all to see?
Psychologists could have a field day with this topic but unfortunately I can only go by life experience and things I have read over the years. Take for example the concept that we each have a shadow side that we try to suppress most of time. This shadow is no less a part of us than the image we present to the world.
Then we consider the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. If I don’t fully know what is going on in my unconscious then how can anyone else know that part of me and how can we know that in others?
Our outward appearance, our body language and the words we use, show only a glimpse of who we really are. A few years ago I went through a few months of depression. During that time I was doing some study and at the end of the semester we all voted for awards for our fellow students. I was nominated as the most cheerful person in the class. I was quite amused at the irony of it.
Maybe this is why I find people to be particularly fascinating. I love getting to know people on a deeper level and understanding where they are coming from.
I have heard it said that we are truly compassionate only when we can recognise the worst in others in ourselves and the best in others in ourselves.
Another powerful concept is the awareness that the way we see the world is unique to us alone. Even if we spent every minute together, our individual views of the past and our hopes for the future would be unique.
I can see how I get into trouble sometimes with communication as I assume that the other person is thinking and seeing things the same as me. On occasions that may be true, but often it is not.
So, in summary, I believe that we can think we know someone really well when in fact, we may not know them at all.