An old man worked at a place I managed during college. I really need to qualify that by saying though I was technically his manager, I was as qualified to manage that place as I was to be an astronaut. Anyway, this old man was full of wisdom and some of the best wisdom he ever gave me was this:
There are 4 ways in which everyone is seen. 1. The way others see you. 2. The way you see yourself. 3. The way God sees you and 4. The way you really are.
At first the statement seemed a bit weird. I thought, "what do you mean God doesn't see me as I really am?" however, the more I thought about it, I found many nuggets of truth in his statement. First, God sees me as Christ makes me, not as I really am so the statement isn't as sacrilegious as I initially thought. Second, none of us see ourselves or others as we/they really are.
Despite great attempts at vulnerability, openness and acceptance, we will never be completely known nor will we completely know anyone in this life. This may be a bit frustrating and disheartening as those of us who long for intimacy and community realize that we are attempting to do something that is never complete so we are never quantifiable "successful".
A bit more contemplation though will maybe lead to a bit of excitement as well. I am not as bad, evil, cruel or pushy as I see myself...and as some others may think me to be. For the people that see good in me...I am not nearly as holy, good, honest, well-trained, educated, etc as they think me to be. I am what we all are. I am a bit of good, mixed with a bit of bad. I am perpetually under construction. That makes me very usual. However, if I will allow this wisdom to permeate my vision of myself and others I will be blessed with clarity that not everyone has.