How do we recognize others? By a walk, by a tone, by a cadence in their bones. By a feeling we get when they enter a room, or the smell of them, like cologne or perfume. By the way their smile reaches their eyes, and how seeing them makes the time fly. By the reflection of them we see in ourselves, or the hope that blooms, the spring that wells. Do we recognize others in the things that they do? Or do they all just look like you?
We spend our whole lives walking around in a world full of people who are as different from us as night is from day. We talk to them, and laugh when them, and cry with them too. They do us favors, and we return them. We connect with them on a certain level, and depending on who they are as individuals, they relate to us on the same level. And while we are all different, it is human nature to search for ways of connection, for the ways we are the same, and we cling to those similarities because those are mirrors that reflect ourselves back to us. Because human nature is also selfish.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every person in the world is selfish. Many people work extremely hard to be selfless, or to care for others above themselves, and that’s highly admirable. It is those people we usually recognize because they’re different. Their souls resonate in a different way to us because their caring is evident. But the vast majority of people we come in contact with aren’t that way, so we can relate to them, we can dissect them and find the parts that work like ours. They are familiar, and that’s comforting.
We tell ourselves, “They look like me!” and we revel in that exclamation like mice rejoice when they’ve finally figured out a way to get the cheese out of the trap without getting nicked. You see, we don’t generally see those things in ourselves when we try to focus on our thoughts and motivations, but when we see it mirrored back to us in others it feels like home. That’s how we really and truly see ourselves for the first time, through the lens of other eyes, and we reflect themselves back as well. It’s a perfect circle that does more good than it harms.
But it can harm, and that’s a reality as well, because while we see those parts of ourselves in others, we tend to tolerate other parts of them that don’t fit our paradigm. If they only associate with people like us then they’ll think they’re exactly like us, which is patently untrue. There are many sides and facets to everyone, and they need to find people who reflect all of those sides, a cadre of people who can put those many different mirrors up and help in the ultimate understanding of their essential selves. And so do you!
Don’t be content to sit back with one or two people who reflect only one part of you back to you. Get out there and discover that while those few may look like you, there are so many others out there who also look like you, just the parts of you that you haven’t taken the time to recognize yet.