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In Order To Know Yourself, Get to Know Someone Else
These days, not so much. I've become an expert ignorer of anyone who seems like they might need something -- strangers, oddballs, children. But Art Decker's post "Getting To Know Yourself By Looking Outward" on IlluminatedMind.net has me rethinking my "never-make-eye-contact" policy. He writes of our national obsession with getting to know ourselves through introspection, and suggests that "perhaps some of the time we spend reflecting could be put to better use living and engaging." I was really hoping he'd say that to know ourselves better we should wear pajamas and read in bed all day, but fine, whatever.
He writes that after a chance encounter left him feeling energized and inspired, he "vowed to meet a stranger every day." The post describes some of his amazing encounters with people he would have never spoken with had he not taken on his "beautiful experiment." (Read the whole post for the scalp-tingling conversation he had with his pharmacy cashier.) After a few months of talking to strangers, Decker writes, "Without a textbook, without a plane ticket, without really much effort at all, I’ve gained more insight and traveled further than ever before. And, I’ve also gotten to know someone I never knew that well before — myself."
If reaching out to a fellow human every day can do anything to deepen our self-knowledge (or really, even if it can't), isn't it worth a shot?
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