Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seeing Yourself in Others

The past few days had me unsure as to whether or not to write this entry. Bits and pieces of what to write popped into my mind, but not a full work that was post-worthy. However, in light of recent events occuring on the social media sphere, some more thoughts came together that seem timely:

In his Feast of the Holy Family homily at my church a few days ago, Bishop Quinn (former auxiliary bishop of Detroit) described the Christmas gift he recieved from his father on his 17th birthday.  It was a letter.  In it, the father described the joy he felt in seeing himself in his son as he held him in his arms as a baby. Bishiop Quinn tied this story into the theme of seeing yourself in others-in this case, in the context of family life.  However, this theme can be seen as universal.  We all must see some aspect of ourselves in not just our families, but our loved ones and everyone we meet.

This doesn't mean seeing yourself in another person in a selfish way.  It's seeing the dignity you have as a human being as also being in someone else.  It's also seeing your joys and sufferings as being shared with all people given our shared humanity.  Everyone may not have the same background, position, or life circumstances, seeing yourself in others recognizes that everyone has the capacity to experience them in similar manners.  You may not have gone through the same experience as another person, but the capacity is in you to deal with it in the same manner as that other person.  Conversely, the same is true.

Everyone is an individual.  Everyone has something about them that sets them apart from everyone else.  However, the things that make make people unique are the same things that binds us as human beings.  This is key in seeing yourself in others among all the aforementioned descriptions of this concept.

Seeing yourself in others, then, is ultimately not solely about you, but about you along with everyone on this earth.  The next time you interact with someone, envision yourself as that person.  When you look in the mirror, envision someone else as you.  It may make all the difference in how you relate to yourself and everyone around you.

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