A Truth is Worth a Million Words

You interpret my heart, my nature, as you wish to believe it.

— Onegin

People see what they want to see.

As I touched on a while back, some of it comes from insecurity. Other times, from a fallacy of projection as some people ignorantly, and megalomaniacally, believe that everyone must think and act as they do. There are a few other cases that don’t fit into either of these categories though.

An example: I once offered a guest in my house some yogurt. The first thing he asked was, “Is it going bad?”. He didn’t believe I would have given it to him otherwise. It was a perfect reflection of his deadbeat friends who expected you to eat before coming to a party, and he had never known any other type of people. A more extreme example is if you offered to feed someone at your house and they got insulted because they thought you were implying that they couldn’t afford to feed themselves. Some people see things that aren’t there. It’s an amazing subconscious sign of their characters.

The way some girls interpret things is also an interesting phenomenon. Some of them think a guy who’s talking to them must be hitting on them so they drop the b-bomb in random points of conversation, just to warn you they have a boyfriend. Some girls think you’re gay because you don’t make any advances towards them. Some girls think you’re torn up, depressed because they declined your advances, and end up making a bigger deal about it than you do. I want nothing more than to tell these girls to get over themselves, but I bite my tongue because they end up embarrassing themselves more than I could ever do myself.

There are also times when a person is so pig-headed and stubborn that they see everything through a filter, interpreting your actions in some crazy way, and believe you’re at fault because they subconsciously refuse to see their own mistakes.

The old me would have been insulted when someone assumes I’m a certain way. Nothing would anger me more than someone presuming to know how I feel or what I’m like, and I used to care desperately what they thought, even if I knew I was just misunderstood. It’s an interesting feeling to be passed that now1.

The truth leaves no room for bias, only interpretation.

I’ve learned never to take responsibility for other peoples’ interpretations. Only take responsibility for your intent. You learn a lot about a person from the way they interpret things and from the way they see the world.

With the truth in your heart, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

With the truth on your side, nothing can go wrong.

  1. It’s actually been quiet a few months since I wrote this entry. I didn’t post it at first because I wanted to be absolutely sure that it wasn’t a fickle feeling, and that my strength was firm. Reading back on it now, it seems more relevant than ever. []

13 comments

  1. True enough. I’ve traditionally taken responsibility for how others interpret but it’s overstepping what’s possible to predict.

    As you say, these people who filter food as charity or castoffs or have reactions out in a different range of emotional regulation,or see loud conflict as the fun way to resolution.

    Whatever. Once you know a person, you can take into account their spin, but there’s only so much you can become a mirror accommodating what a person wants and expects.

    The other person has an equal responsibility to take how you are into account and recognize your intent. And some people are largely so self-involved or stressed or wrapped up that they can’t make that stretch yet.

    Keeping my own sense of integrity balanced with being sensitive to other’s needs as I know them is my balancing act sometimes.

  2. I was suspecting this for a while, your post further strengthened my belief because I was still struggling on steeling against the accusations of others, so that I stay true to my original intention.

    I think, having a purpose in your action will further clarify how much your intention gets twisted in other’s view.

  3. An example: I once offered a guest in my house some yogurt. The first thing he asked was, “Is it going bad?”

    Tell them it is. Whenever they make an assumption you know is wrong, tell them they’re right. Keep doing this till they walk off and be thankful you dont have to put up with their nonsense anymore.

  4. @Pearl — In some cases, it does take some responsibility to understand how others interpret things. One shouldn’t make a joke at a funeral, for example, unless one knows that the grieving people enjoy that sort of morbid humour.

    However, as you say, there’s only so much one can do. Other people having an equal responsibility is exactly right. Some people, no matter how many times you say something, no matter how you say it, just don’t get it. I find that most often, these are the “self-involved” ones, as you put it.

    @Causalien — Glad I could help. What I’m confused about is this: you say that having a purpose in your action clarifies your intentions. Don’t all of your actions have a purpose?

    @Vidar — A rather humorous shortcut, one I should have taken many times before.

  5. No one can describe anyone else better than what s/he is… They will assume that other people are same like them, with same line of attitude… They’ll judge you through their views. And, it’s funny how I react to them. This girl thinks I’m a fool, and I begin to accept I am! My friend’s girlfriend left him, said he was a fucking bastard… and he has not been able to come out of it- he says often “yes i am…” I’ve seen his frustration, and wonder why we just can’t let them go… It is really hard when the one you love the most hates you on the basis of her interpretations of who you might be- and not what you are…
    “You learn a lot about a person from the way they interpret things and from the way they see the world.”
    Yes, I agree. But then, you are again making interpretations/assumptions of that person the way you want…

  6. Sometimes the purpose didn’t reach the conscious mind, or gets discarded as information that doesn’t need processing. Other times, I intentionally block out knowing the purpose because if I have a clear idea of what the purpose is, I won’t do it. Usually associated with guilty pleasure.

  7. @Salik — I don’t quite agree that no one can describe anyone better than what he/she is because I find that a lot of the times people don’t know themselves very well, but perhaps I’m misunderstanding your sentence. The fact that we all make interpretations of other people’s interpretations is very true though.

    @Causalien — That’s very interesting. It made me realize that I always try to be conscious of the purposes of my actions. I never stop evaluating, then re-evaluating myself to just let it go as needless processing. And I never try to block out anything intentionally, even if it’s a guilty pleasure. Otherwise, I feel like I’m fooling myself. It seems kind of paradoxical, but guilty pleasures stop being guilty when you embrace them.

  8. You mustn’t assume girls “need to get over themselves” when they immediately head straight for protection over connection — they have simply learned to close down against an alarming number of guys (quite unlike yourself) who are interested in them for all the wrong reasons, and are hit on so often that they do end up being a bit knee-jerkish. This arises not from the girl being or even presuming she is beautiful, but rather from the low habit of many of the less gentlemanly to routinely trawl for whatever they can get sexually. Many aren’t even interested in that particular girl, but rather in whether they succeed. Being confronted with this level of insincerity repeatedly can ruin it for the rest of you guys.

  9. I have to respectfully disagree.

    I dated a girl once who constantly thought that I was too insecure and unconfident, because all her ex-boyfriends were this way. She would keep bringing it up, and I would keep reminding her that these ex-boyfriends are exes for a reason.

    She based her opinion of me on her past experience. It was completely wrong and unfair for her to assume that I was the same way. It’s the same thing with girls who assume that you cheat simply because they’ve dated the wrong guys.

    Closing down or saying no is fine, if it’s asked. Believing that someone is hitting on you just because they’re talking to you is arrogant. Believing that someone is in pain and that it’ll take them a long time to get over you is both arrogant and insulting.

  10. Oh so this is about a specific person…. I see…. Well that does sound a bit off.

    (I’m just remembering the more agonizing points of my and my friends’ experience with unfamilliar guys in public situations. I wasn’t referring to a female someone who already (supposedly) knows or should have known you.)

  11. This entry wasn’t about one person in particular, but it definitely draws from several experiences. It applies just as much to people who don’t know me. In fact, it would be even worse if someone did know me, because they should know better.

  12. haha the other day at the mall there was some girl at the shoe repair shop and some guy said something to her as she was walking away, but nobody understood what he said, including her, and she responded: “what? sorry boyfriend” and walked away with a smile. So funny

    dropping the “b-bomb” is much better than a girl who teases you and hints interest when she really has no interest and knows that you have no chance in hell with her :)

  13. I suppose that mind games could be considered worse, especially if one doesn’t know that they’re being played, but I’d personally prefer that over the arrogant assumptions.

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