When I first was exposed to this statement I didn’t understand it. It was only after understanding The Mind Model that I started to see this clearly. There are filters in our minds that have us delete, distort, and generalize the data we receive from the world around us. In our mind we have a model of the world based on the concepts we have chosen to incorporate into that model. Therefore we can only see in others those things we have in ourselves.
Think of it as looking in a mirror.
Let’s look at an example of 2 people and the concept of rejection. The first person (Joe), when asked about what is rejection, they respond with, “Isn’t that kind of like when, ah, someone says no?” They have a concept of rejection but it is just that, a concept and not too well defined. Whereas person 2 (Sean) may respond with, “I hate rejection. I feel that all the time in relationships, at work, with strangers. It is painful. I avoid certain situations because of the fear of rejection. …” Person 2 has a very broad and rich concept of rejection.
Now both of these people witness the same event. An interaction where a man asked a woman for a date and then is strongly rejected. When asked about the interaction they witness Joe will respond with what his concept of rejection understands – the woman said no. Whereas Sean may see it much differently due to his rich concept of rejection. He may see the strength of the rejection and the emotions involved and feel the man’s pain.
Each man can only perceive that which is inside of himself.
What is the takeaway from all of this? When you react to something look first to yourself.
When you judge others it is because you are full of self-judgment. If you see something in others it is because it is in you.
The world is your mirror.