Our faults irritate us most when we see them in others.
There’s a lot to see when we look at someone.
Clothing, weight, hair style, posture, demeanor, skin color, jewelry, wrinkles, age, marital status, ethnicity, language, accent, emotions, possessions, house, car, neighborhood, job, status, awards, education, children, friends, cleanliness, hygiene, demeanor, politics, sexual orientation …
… Or at least there’s a lot we think we see.
It may be more accurate to say that when we look at someone, we are actually seeing ourselves – a reflection of ourselves. Because everything we see in others is seen through the distorted lens of our own experience and perception.
Drive by a mansion and we’ll see wealth – because we feel poor. We call the other team lousy sports for running up the score – because we’re mad that we lost. Watch a parent struggle with a child in a restaurant and we’ll say they’re permissive – because we don’t want to be disturbed.
We see what we want to see. We see in others what we like or don’t like about ourselves. We judge according to our own set of values. Every time we look at another, we’re looking in a mirror.
Knowing that, we may start to act differently. When we look in the mirror, we don’t stop at judgement of our own tangled and dirty hair. We reach for a brush.
Perhaps we could pick up a metaphorical brush when we see someone with tangled and dirty hair on the street. Not so much to “fix” the other person, but to help and understand them. And to understand ourselves.
Everyone we see is a mirror – a mirror to our own perception of reality.
We may just not recognize ourselves in the reflection.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Not so much a gift of time, but listened patiently to someone speak with whom I disagreed with politically. When he asked for help, I still tried to give him helpful and positive feedback. … After all, what I saw in him, was a reflection of me.