There are a lot of people who dislike me, I’m sure.
Now, most of them won’t tell me, due to the surrounding “West Michigan nice” culture, but I know those people are out there. People who find my laugh annoying. People who are frustrated at how loud I am. People who believed what someone else said, and now wish to have nothing to do with me.
Being a recovering people pleaser, this fact is something I’ve wrestled with for a long time. I thought that everyone had to like me. I wanted everyone to say, “Oh, Kim? She’s phenomenal!”
But the reality is, no matter what I do or how hard I try, those people are still going to dislike me.
And it frustrates me.
I think I’m a good person. I have a good heart. I wish that those who dislike me would take the time to get to know me. Then they’d see that I’m actually not that bad. Actually, I’m pretty cool.
Perhaps I said something that hurt someone else. Perhaps I was brash or hasty. Perhaps, in my own pain, I was blind to the needs of others. I’m a good person, but I’m not a perfect person. And I am 100% going to let others down.
However, it’s usually not intentional. It’s usually not something I’m aware of. And, once made aware, it’s usually something I wish I could undo.
But these people who dislike me, or those I’ve hurt, they don’t know what’s happening in my heart or in my mind. They cannot comprehend the guilt or frustration I feel. They often don’t get to see how far I’ve come and the changes I’ve already made. They don’t get to see my growth.
They don’t get to know my side of the story.
I’m sure that you have experienced this before, as well. Others have passed judgment on you for something you said or did. They didn’t let you explain yourself. They didn’t accept your apology. They refused to stay in contact with you. They would not forgive you.
Now, flip this narrative. Replace yourself with those who have hurt or wronged you.
You often don’t get to see what’s happening in their heads. You often don’t get to know their intentions. You often don’t see their situation or what else they are battling.
You don’t get to see their side of the story.
During my senior year of college, I was good friends with two roommates. Throughout the course of the year, I often played mediator to their issues with one another. One would approach me and share her frustrations about something the other did. Not too long later, the other roommate would approach me and share why she was upset with how her roommate handled a situation.
These two girls are both very kind and loving people. But even the best of people can have an error in judgment. Listening to them talk about each other, I understood why there were tensions. Yes, the action was incorrect. But the perpetrator had good intentions and was trying to do what they thought best.
I knew that their anger would ease if they were to talk it out and listen to one another.
They needed to get the whole story.
I’m sorry that you have been hurt by others. I’m sorry they have wronged you and scarred you. And I am sorry that you now carry that pain with you.
But please, do yourself a favor and try to get the other side of the story.
More often than not, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the situation and deeper respect for the person.
Voice your frustration. Express your hurt feelings. Most of the time, the pain they caused was unintentional.
Reading only a few chapters is never enough. You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you read the whole story.
I realize that some people have caused pain intentionally, or are blind to personal flaws. I understand that there are mental diagnoses that block empathy and communication skills. I know that not everyone is as kind and loving as you are.
Understand that once you have heard the entire story, it doesn’t mean you have to let that person back into your life or give them a license to hurt you again. Every situation is different, and I trust that you will use wisdom to analyze them.
Has there been a situation where you have benefitted from hearing both points of view?
Is there a present situation in which you might benefit from hearing another side of the story?