You don’t know me, I don’t even know me.

I don’t write as much as I’d like, mostly because I don’t have the time, but I think there are other reasons that keep me from sharing my thoughts as frequently as I should. Let me explain…

Whenever I write, I’m sharing a part of who I am, something that’s been on my mind or close to my heart. This can be a scary thing to allow others to read. I am opening myself up to judgments, criticisms, and potential misunderstanding. Just because a person has read what I’ve written, doesn’t necessarily mean they fully understood my intent or the message I was attempting to convey.

There’s a second part to this, and here is where I think things get interesting. Every post I write- my thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs are just a snapshot of who I am at the time of writing. My perspective is not permanent or unable to change. I am not the same person I was when I started this blog in 2008. I’m not even the same person that I was last week. Growth is a part of life. I have written things in the past that when I read them today, I realize I don’t agree with anymore, or perhaps I now see things from a different perspective.

Let me be clear, this does not mean my older posts are less true than the more recent ones. They were true to me at the time. They may still speak to you today, and I hope they do. But be aware, just because you read something I wrote 3 years ago, don’t assume this means you know me, because I still don’t even know myself.

This applies to more than just writing.

How many times have you heard a person say something that you didn’t agree with or that you thought was inappropriate or rude, and you’ve allowed it to forever inform your opinion of that person? I know I’ve been guilty of this. The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes we don’t give people the opportunity to change and grow. Or maybe we don’t allow ourselves to change the way we see others once we think we already have them figured out. This is especially true when we read something someone has written. I mean, if they took the time to write it down, it must be what they believe for all of eternity.

All of this brings up an interesting question. Doesn’t it seem as though once something is “on paper”, it carries more weight? Written words are taken more seriously. People often  hold you accountable for your words long after they’ve been said. When you write them down, it’s like they become permanent. And there’s nothing wrong with this. That’s why I try to be careful about what I write. However, what this doesn’t mean is a person should be bound to everything they have said in the past, without our acknowledgment of potential growth or change.

Think of it like this. Would you want to be held accountable for all the things you said or did in middle school? What about high school? Most likely not. It’s understood that you have learned a thing or two since then. You have matured. This maturation process should continue on through the rest of your life.

I’ll end with this, a call to action. Let’s do our best to encourage continual growth in not only ourselves, but in others as well.  Stop assuming you have everyone figured out and start looking for ways to get to know the person each of us is becoming. You might just be surprised with who you meet along the way.

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