There has been a blog post percolating in the back of my mind for some time now. It really comes down to a question:
Do we really want to know what people think about us?
The black-and-white, radically honest side of me says yes! Of course I do! Honesty is the best policy. Plus, I’ve got a pretty thick skin. I can handle whatever people have to say about me (but really, most people don’t say nasty things). Living in the South, where a lot of people tend to hide what they truly think, it’s always fascinated me to get into people’s minds and hear their real thoughts.
The other side of me says, if someone has some really caustic, nasty, hurtful things to say about me, what good is it for me to know? Something like that could mean the end of our relationship (if there was one)…but if they are saying these things, was there really one to begin with?
I should backpedal just a bit to say that I’ve had a few people speak to me face-to-face or write me a personal note to criticize my behavior or my words, and I have taken that as constructive criticism and tried to change my behavior or words (if I agreed with them…which I usually did). This post is more about the people who decide to tell someone else all about how horrible I am, or put it out there on social media “anonymously” (with no names) for all their friends to see and agree with (because they know exactly what they’re saying). But of course they don’t tell me.
Oh – this hasn’t happened to you? It’s just me? Huh.
For some reason, people do seem to have a love/hate relationship with my family. Those who like us [appear to] really, really like us. They cannot understand how some people might not. Those who do not like us really do not like us. I don’t think hate is too strong a word. Why is this? What is it about me? And now, as a parent myself, I am imagining what my parents might have gone through, seeing their children go through those formative years with few or no friends, being ignored, excluded, talked about (but never to our faces, of course). I would be hurting for my son, my precious baby, who is such a light and blessing to so many – how could anyone not like him? But being genetically related to me, and my family, deep down I am afraid he might find himself in the same boat one day. I remember telling my mom about something nasty someone had posted about me, and she said I really should just get off of social media – just shut it down and not have to see this stuff. And, thinking about Richard, I understand the desire to protect me from the acid out there, to protect me from the burn, the hurt.
That’s what brought about this post: do we delete our accounts and never know that someone said something mean, or do we want to know what was said so we know where we truly stand with people?
I like to know the truth. But maybe, sometimes, it’s better not to?