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Do we need other people to know ourselves?
2012년 10월 12일 (금) 13:10:28 Ewha Voice evoice@ewha.ac.kr
   
Kim Young
(Media Studies, 1)

Socrates, a Greek philosopher, once said, “know thyself.” However, it is extremely difficult to truly acknowledge who we are by ourselves. It is through other people that we objectively understand and view ourselves. Most people tend to avoid revealing themselves to others because it makes them vulnerable to the outside world. However, we become more mature through having interactions with other people. Letting other people know about ourselves helps us to overcome our fears and weaknesses, ultimately gifting us with maturity, identity, and interactive relationships.
First of all, we become mature through others. Most people have difficulties viewing themselves objectively. As a human being with feelings, we all tend to overlook our faults and emphasize our strengths. Maturity is hard to achieve when we easily forgive ourselves. In the novel “Rachomon,” main characters contradict each other in the process of testifying as witnesses in a murder trial. Each character distorts the true happening to justify his or her actions. A logger, the only witness not related to the crime, sees the case with an unbiased view. By letting other people evaluate and criticize us objectively, we are opening ourselves to a productive advice. By accepting our faults and overcoming those mistakes, we will definitely become mature.
Secondly, we define ourselves through other people. There is a saying that the other people are the mirror of ourselves. We often establish our identity by understanding the differences and comparing ourselves with others. This process can take place only if individuals are willing to open up and let the others know about them. Learning from others and defining ourselves can both be direct and indirect. Direct learning can work through asking and listening to the others. Indirect learning, on the other hand, takes place through observing others. By opening up, everyone will grasp his or her true identity, which is essential in living their lives with purpose.
Thirdly, we engage in interactive relations by letting other people know us. Through the conversations that express our emotions, we take part in an interactive relationship with other people. Although this may seem unnecessary, a healthy relationship with the people is essential for emotional stability. A research conducted by the Psychology division of Seoul National University showed statistics revealing strong correlation with human relationships to confidence and emotional stability. Conversations or mutual hobbies with other people will greatly benefit people who let the others know about themselves. This evidently yields to the fact that social contact is beneficial to us not only mentally, but also physically. Social interaction is complex, however, it is a key part of living a life well.
We establish, maintain, and consequentially develop ourselves through other people. Without those people, we might not feel the necessity to improve, nor feel stable or confident in our lives. A surprising number of people are reluctant to learn from others. People think it is somehow demanding, especially in academic areas or life skills. However, there is no reason why we should feel different about people we consider as our peers and intimate people around us. If someone is doing effective actions that we should learn, we all should not hesitate to try those out. By opening ourselves, we are opening our doors toward a better life.

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