We all heard about how understanding others can help to understand ourselves. Since some months that I am doing my Volontary service I discovered why this was particulary true. I can also say why in this European Volontary service this principle is even more effective.
1) Meeting people
The main reason to it is that in this huge international context we have the opportunity to meet a lot of people. It's even more than just an opportunity ; we have to know people either in the main organisation, your work place (if it is a different place than the main organisation), the other volonteers or the people you will work with. To have a comparaison point I went abroad also with the program Erasmus studies and I can say that I didn't meet so much persons and also by the way so different persons. In this kind of university exchanges you meet mainly other students approximately in the same age and with not so much different experiences. I need to say that my Erasmus Study experience was amazing and I really had a good time. And the experience of everyone is of course different. But with EVS and in just some months I can feel that I already learned so much as a person and from other persons that I would probably not learned in my « normal » life in my home-country. When I say « different » people I mean people coming from different regions of the world, different ages (some younger some older), with different backgrounds in their private and professional lifes.
2) The mirror effect
The mirror effect or The Law of Reflection explain how the different aspects of us are reflected by the others. What we admire in a person or the things that we don't like reflect what is happenning in us. So the other persons show us some aspects of our personnality or caracter that we don't recognise yet. There is a reason of why a behaviour affect me and why I react to it positively or negatively. The reason is that there is a part of me in those things that I see in others. It's always related to ME. If we could dissociate the ME from the YOU relationships would not be so complicated. It's hard because it touch us personaly. It's related to our fears, or scars from the past or to some talent that we are afraid to developp. The mirror effect allows us to look to others and see ourselves. It's a precious tool when we know about it.
But it is also hard to accept it because the ego wants to make us believe that we are not like this and that we don't have the same defaults, that we are better.
For exemple ; In the case of a couple, if one has difficulties to express himself in the couple it will not accept that the other take all the attention on him. Things that I am not able to do are difficult to accept when done by others. It's where the conflict start and it's the same for all kind of relationship.
Then you can just ask yourself : For what am I blaming someone ? From what am I afraid ? Or why am I so impressed by someone ? Are there some qualities that I would like to developp too ?
Observation is important. It's the best way to understand and improve.
The quote of Oscar Wilde : « The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. » is a good illustration. The contrary works also. As well as the beauty the ugliness is also about the self.
An ESC boost the process of meeting people and different people which allows more relationships and different kinds of relationships. The mirror effect is a beautiful tool to understand yourself and improve. Can be applied in everyday life by everyone with any kind of relationship.