I have a friend, let’s call her “Anna,” who is having difficulties with a family member. Anna, in my opinion, is an exceptional human being. She is warm, kind, giving and she is diligently working to improve herself both physically and scholastically while simultaneously bending over backward to care and provide for her family. Just imagining what her life must be like exhausts me. I have never met the relative who is harassing her, which is probably for the best as I can be an unbelievable bitch when the situation presents itself, but because I know Anna, I find it extremely hard to believe her even capable of the allegations against her. It is simply not in her nature. But it’s entirely possible, even probable, that this family member honestly believes her version of events to be true and that Anna is a horrible person.
Truth is subjective. What we consider to be truth is an ever fluctuating interpretation of facts viewed through our own unique window to existence. Our memories, experiences, emotions and natural leanings toward optimism or pessimism, in addition to a plethora of other tweaks here and there, shape what we believe to be true. And while some people see the world in black and white, right and wrong, yes and no, others can see infinite possibilities in between. And occasionally, we even unconsciously hide the truth from ourselves because to know and understand another point of view to be true would be too painful or unpleasant to face.
I want to help my friend, but I know that we can only change ourselves and how we respond to and interpret the world around us. And it is not possible to change another person’s truth, especially if they are unwilling or unable to open their heart and simply consider another point of view without prejudice or preconceptions. I can only hope that Anna’s relative will one day re-examine her perspective and discover Anna’s truth and that Anna will have forgiveness to spare.