I Know You Are But What Am I?

Quick, describe your neighbor. The friend you just talked to on the phone. And one other person you know.

Tally up the negatives and positives. What do they indicate?

Actually, they say a lot more about you than the people you’re describing.

Sages, poets and mystics have told us all along that what we perceive is who we are. Research indicates they were right. Our perceptions of others actually say much more about us.

According to a study in the July 2010 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the tendency to assess people in our social networks positively is linked to our own

enthusiasm,

happiness,

kind-heartedness,

politeness,

emotional stability,

life satisfaction,

even how much others like us.

A lead researcher says, “Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits.”

The opposite is also true. The study found that how negatively we view others is linked to our own unhappiness as well as a greater likelihood of problems such as depression, narcissism and antisocial behavior.

That explains a lot.

Sure, any three people we know are likely to have annoying traits. Who doesn’t? But as Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Often people whose behavior is most challenging turn out, in retrospect, to bring out new strengths in us. They illuminate what we don’t want to see, make us more aware and teach us to be better people ourselves.  Perhaps we’re drawn to the sandpaper that smoothes us our own imperfections.

It isn’t reasonable to cast a wholly positive light on every person. But knowing that what we see is what we enhance in ourselves, that can make all the difference.

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A human being is essentially

a spirit-eye.

Whatever you really see,

you are that.

Rumi

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Art courtesy of SkyHorizon

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is a writer and editor, perhaps due to an English professor's scathing denunciation of her writing as "curious verbiage." She's the author of "Free Range Learning," a handbook of natural learning and "Tending," a poetry collection. (lauragraceweldon.com) She's working on her next book, "Subversive Cooking" (subversivecooking.com). She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she is a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, talk to chickens and cows, discuss life’s deeper meaning with her surprisingly tolerant offspring, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art.
This entry was posted in mindfulness, non-violence, optimism, perspective and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to I Know You Are But What Am I?

  1. Kimerly says:

    Quick…describe Laura Grace, whom you’ve never met…intelligent, inspiring, thought-provoking, curious, caring, kind, creative!

  2. Pingback: Dodgeblogium » Mid-August blues CoTV

  3. Pingback: Lovely Words Vol. 18 – Writing as a Sacred Art

  4. Lee Aiken says:

    I’m so happy to hear this because I have so many wonderful friends and maybe that means I’m okay myself! I love people!

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