Freshman year of college I took both dramatic literature classes I needed to graduate. Looking back I wish I took them a little later when I could really appreciate the plays I was reading. Though I enjoyed both courses I really, very much enjoyed my modern dramatic literature course with my mentor. He has this wonderful way of taking what you thought you knew and turning it on its ear. For example, there was a play in his curriculum that messed with the idea of what is real called Six Characters in Search of an Author- a totally messed up Italian play by a fellow named Luigi Pirandello that caused riots on opening night. When a play causes European audiences to freak out, you've got something that really messes with you.
My professor's discussion was centered around the theme of "what is reality?" In the play six characters show up at the rehearsal of a different play looking for an author to finish telling their story. There is the reality of the Characters and the reality of the Actors. Each group thinks they know what reality means and that they are the ones living it. It made sense to me theatrically but when we began to discuss what we each perceive to be reality, that reality isn't the same for everyone, I was totally mind blown. My professor proceeded to use the example of our personalities- I am confident in what I know my personality to be, but someone else perceives my personality totally differently. When I was eighteen I couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that someone could think I was a total jerk when so many other people think I'm the epitome of nice.
Ten years later I don't find that to be such a stretch. I'm self aware enough to know that I'm not the same person around everyone. When I was younger I was so concerned with what people thought of me and how I treated other people that I tried to be the same to everyone. The older I got the more I realized that I wasn't being true to myself or to other people. Sometimes I think I've lost my patience since I came to that realization. But for the most part I find myself a lot less tense about my relationships with people. Being honest to myself has helped me be honest with other people. And that's really freeing.
So when someone thinks I'm a bitch, I'm okay with it. Maybe I was bitchy at the moment I interacted with them. If they think that about me then they obviously don't know me all that well, do they? I have moments where I'm not nice or patient (see above) but overall I like to think that coming to the realization that I can't be the same thing to everyone has made me a better, truer person.