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  • Writer's pictureTrish Beauchamp

To know someone is to understand how they see the world.

You’ve likely heard the phrases, “You just don’t understand me!” and “I can’t be myself when I’m with you.” 

Whether you’re witnessing a dramatic scene in a movie or are engaged in a conversation the message is the same - 'Please see ME! '


We all live with individual perceptions of how the world is for us and how we will relate to others. Family upbringing, beliefs, and individual experiences will influence the lens through which we view others and how they view us.

We can attempt to understand our life partners, family members, work colleagues, and even annoying people. However, developing meaningful relationships requires acknowledging how they experience the world through the lens that is their perspective.

Every viewpoint is a view from a point.  “Every person you meet creates a personal viewpoint of seeing the world.” David Brooks, ‘How to Know a Person’.

 A concept explored in the book is that every community has diminishers and illuminators. Diminishers will see people as things to be utilized and - intentionally or unintentionally - they diminish a person’s point of view. Illuminators are curious to understand people. They tell others, 'I want to get to know you and be known by you.'

Are you a diminisher or an illuminator?

Do the people you spend time with diminish or illuminate your personhood?

A well-known story relays the experience of Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, who spent an evening with two men competing for the position of UK prime minister. She relayed her experience to a journalist, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But when I sat next to Disraeli, I left feeling that I was the cleverest woman.” 

Disraeli had spent their time together asking her questions and listening intently to her responses. He leaned the conversation toward her, as a practiced illuminator will do. 

The only person you can completely know is the one looking back at you in a mirror.“Know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves" Socrates


Life makes sense when you understand why you view the world as you do.

Life functions well when you see things from another person’s point of view and your own. This becomes your opportunity to know someone.





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