self perception vs other's perception
I tend to think of it as a common occurrence, although my perspective is colored by my own experience.
Lucius Apuleis, who lived in Ancient Rome from 124 to 170 A.D., was quoted as saying 'Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration' although the quote has been used by many, many times over the years. His is the earliest reference that I could find.
In relation to this, I have often been quiet and attentive in conversations. although this leads many to confabulate theories as to why I am silent and less boastful than others. I have been perceived by others to be self important, conceited, having a lack of self esteem, and even going so far as alluding that I am gay for my modest approach to life, haha
This, in turn, has led me to another quote which I am more comfortable with, although I cannot find an early reference to this one:
"What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business"
When it comes to other peoples opinion about me, it is usually a projection of themselves that they are seeing, especially when they have no other true observations to make. Many attempt to elevate their own lives by degrading others. But we are all simple animals with emotions that lead us into wrong decisions at times, no one of us leads a perfect existence, as if there were such a thing. We are constantly ebbing and flowing through our lives to accommodate the varied circumstance that makes up our existence. Any attempt to portray ourselves as some resemblance of perfection is just a story we tell ourselves and others.
When I apply the 'familiarity breeds contempt' to my own thought processes, it is true that everyone has underlying shame concerning some part of their life, whether valid or not. I try to refrain from judging others when they become familiar enough to expose those shameful portions of their lives. We are all human and we have all taken missteps in our lives or had a unique view on things related to our personal experience.
I sometimes use this fact as a test of genuine relationship and expose those things for which I am ashamed just to see if the other person will use it to gain some type of self perceived leverage over me. If they do, then its time to move on to different friends. I've often been disappointed by those I considered close friends, but find its better to discover that nature sooner than later.