The first time I heard this quote was a couple years ago, in a lecture about Warren Buffet. It struck me as salient and I contemplated it, and since then it has come back to me over and over again in different forms, and has come to make much more sense to me than it originally did. There are many things I can say about it, but today's reflection has to do with relationships.
I think the people you love (date, marry, family, friends) are mirrors to your own soul, to the extent that you are close to them. They help you see yourself clearly, as a kind of sanity check to your own introspection, because they are close enough to you and your daily life to see you fully for who you truly are. If they are selfish (which most people are, at least to some extent) then it is in their own interest to see you objectively, and to help you to achieve the character you wish to possess. To the extent that they are selfish, and wish to be with someone they can admire, they will be more and more objective, and through (kind) feedback can help you shape your life and self to your design.
To some, this probably sounds really strange. You might not realize it, but you are shaping yourself every day. Why are self-help books so popular? Why do we read beauty magazines, or take classes, or exercise, or solicit feedback from coaches, mentors, and peers? We want to become something, someone, and we aren't there yet. In fact, we probably never "get there" - the people I know are always looking to improve their lives in some way. This aspiration to become more
What this all boils down to is that the purpose of our relationships is to find people who we admire, who help us to see ourselves clearly, and love what they see in us. My husband, immediate family, and closest friends do this for me - and I think it is the most powerful outside influence on my personal growth and ongoing endeavor to become more ME.