The Other Person Is You.
To develop more compassion for others, I have been inspired by this concept:“The other person is you.”
Living with this intention helps me judge less and provides a path for dealing with the polarization of our current world.
"The other person is you.”
I met this idea during a Kundalini Yoga teacher training as one of five sutras/ threads of the Aquarian Age. Working the thought pattern of “recognizing the other person is you” takes consistent mindfulness. We are not separate from each other; in truth, we are all deeply connected. Anyone I encounter represents aspects of me.
When a person’s behavior annoys me, engaging in this form of mindfulness shifts my perspective. It is easier to feel connected to someone who experiences the world as I do. It creates distance when the person causing your irritation behaves quite differently than you. I ask myself, “As I consider this person I find so irritating, how do they represent a part of me?”
You may be thinking, “There is no way I am anything like that other person!” But consider a pugnacious colleague…a deeply opinionated friend or family member…a celebrity or voice on the world stage. When I think about this person who seems so unlike me, I recognize a small part of me may be pugnacious, opinionated and even annoying. The other person allows me to witness this part of myself, and, if I am open to the moment, these individuals can be my teachers. Recognizing the other person is me, allows me to express my best self.
Any quality we observe in another person is present in ourselves. Otherwise, how would we know the behavior? This works beautifully with positive expressions: kindness, love, forgiveness, selflessness. However, it becomes less comfortable when we recognize negative emotions in others: fear, judgment, rudeness, selfishness, gossip, dishonesty, betrayal. Really good people can still have really bad behaviors, and these harmful behaviors may be hard for us to accept in others.
So, I begin the work, the work of building on the concept that the other person is me. This is humbling and challenging to the ego self. The self may feel superior and only wants to acknowledge our good side. We can be blind to our judging self, our microaggressions, our rudeness, unkindness or self-absorption expressed towards others. We can be blind to our “less than” best behaviors, and, at the same time, quickly recognize these expressions in others. We often judge other people we encounter before we truly know their circumstances or stories.
“The other person is you” is a way to observe the ego. It humbles us to be reminded that we may possess the same qualities, even in small amounts, we find annoying in others.
"The other person is you.”
Try working this mindset for a few weeks or months and let me know if your sense of compassion increases. I am truly interested. Sat Nam. (Sat Nam in Sanskrit translates “my truth is my identity.”)
Rocky Blumhagen, Stanford DCI, (Distinguished Careers Institute, Fellow/Partner Class of 2019) is a yoga and mindful practitioner. Follow Rocky’s 1000-day yoga challenge at: https://rockyblumhagen.com/the-other-person-is-you/