Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.

Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition. – Alexander Smith

Do you see yourself in this person? Yes, the hair may be different, but what about the eyes?

Do you see yourself in this person? Yes, the hair may be different, but what about the eyes? Start by seeing what is similar, and discovery of yourself in others will follow.

What does that mean?
To me, this is a quote about that odd phenomenon of instant friends and love at first sight. The former is more about a familial or fraternal love, while the latter is about a more romantic love.

Both tend to be immediate and enduring. Nearly all the people I have ever had this experience with are still friends at some level. The recognition of ourselves in the other person is what is key. When we notice it, we have an instant bond, covering the things we have in common.

This commonality is what brings forth the feelings of friendship, kinship and of love, be it romantic or otherwise. And in finding that commonality, we share in great delight, because it is always nice to meet someone who is just like us, even if only in one aspect of ourselves.

Why is recognizing ourselves in others important?  
To start with, I believe it is important to both notice and acknowledge the similarity when it is found, which are the two primary definitions of the word recognize. I also believe it is important to partake in the joy and delight of the discovery.

But before we can acknowledge a similarity, we must first detect it. To me, that is the most important step. So many people spend their life focused on themselves or other things, that they don’t notice the similarity in others even when it exists. I believe we can, and should, do a better job of seeing ourselves in others.

In the ultimate form, we will recognize at least a portion of ourselves in everyone we meet. When we can do that, we will give each-other all the love we deserve, and the world will be a much nicer place in which to live. Yes, it’s idealistic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a step or two in that direction, right?

Where can I apply this in my life?
I would say that unless you are a hermit, or already treat everyone you know and all whom you meet as long lost friends, you can apply this with every interpersonal interaction. You could even start with the next person you meet, if you really wanted.

We will get what we focus on. If we are looking for ways that we are different from other people, we will see different hair color and length, different eye color and shape. We will see different heights and widths, different clothes and jewelry.

If we focus on what is the same, we will see fingers and toes, eyes and ears. We will see arms and legs, a mouth and a torso. We will notice the same needs and basic desires for food, shelter, clothing, as well as for attention, affection, friendship, and significance.

Are you a “glass half full” type or a “glass half empty” type? Yes we all have difference (even identical twins). Yet we are all the same. If we focus on what is different, we will never see ourselves in them, unless we accidentally see ourselves in a mirror.

What I believe we need to do to better live this quote is to focus on what makes us the same. We won’t see ourselves in everyone at the start. Even after a while of trying, it still might not be automatic. But I feel it is worth the effort, don’t you?

When we see even the slightest bit of ourselves in another, that is a reason to be happy, to delight in having recognized that small portion of ourselves in another. Even if you don’t share the news with them, you still feel better, and the world becomes a slightly better place. It may not be any more than a drop in the ocean (literally), but every little bit helps.

As you train your brain to look for the similarities, you will naturally become better at making friends and finding those small bits of love which are such a key part of being human. Many of us have, at times, forgotten this, but this quote reminds us to try, and enjoy the results.

Life can be full of friends, or full of strangers. If we insist, we can find the differences. However, if we focus on what is similar, we can more easily find ourselves in others. To me, that is a worthy endeavor, and I hope you will join me in the attempt to improve this portion of our lives.

From: Twitter, @Quotes_on_Love
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Photo by Julien Haler

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