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Externavision

If I could have one superpower, I might make it the power of Externavision™ (not really trademarked, just in case you were wondering). I refer to the power to see myself from the outside in. Empathy is the ability to see another person’s feelings through their own eyes, Externavision™ is the ability to see yourself through another person’s eyes.

How would the way I live my life change if I thought more often about how my wife, my kids, my parents, my friends, my coworkers, and clients see me? My sinful default processing system runs all the data I encounter through the epistemological filter of selfishness. I go through much of life thinking inwardly, with a self-centered lens coloring they way I see everything.

My best days are the days I manage to get outside myself, and really be more interested in God’s honor and my fellow man’s good more than in my own pleasure. Wouldn’t the ability to hear my angry words through my children’s ears soften those words? Wouldn’t the ability to see myself obsess over some stupid passion through the eyes of my wife quickly redirect my obsessions to more worthy pursuits?

Externavision™, like everything else in life, can have harmful side effects. It can tempt us to become crippled by what other people think of us. We do need to maintain our independent minds, to be ready to listen to God more than men (Acts 5:29).

But used rightly, this ability to see what others see in me can make a beautiful life. That’s because, as Batman once said (in that great movie Batman Begins), “what we do” really does define us – at least in regards to our human relationships.

The good news is that we don’t really need a superpower of Externavision™ to do this. Pray that God will help you see yourself more often the way your spouse and kids do, and try to stop every now and then and think about how you look to them (especially if you catch yourself being grumpy or mean). You can adjust your attitude and actions accordingly. This is a real way to follow the “Golden Rule” from Matthew 7:12.

We’ll be much better at acting toward others how we’d like them to act toward us if we work to develop the mental habit of seeing our actions through their eyes.    

Published inMusings

2 Comments

  1. A beautiful reminder of what we all need to be doing. You can be Externaman, and I’ll try to be Externawoman. I’m not sure about designing a costume though, I would probably want a cape and we all know how that turns out…

    • Aaron Aaron

      Yes! Capes may not be a good plan, Externawoman….

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