Diminishers and Illuminators

Message/Experiment of the Week:

Are you a diminisher or an illuminator? David Brooks, NY Times columnist, describes diminishers as people who “make you feel invisible, unseen. They're not curious about you. They stereotype you. They label you.” He describes illuminators as “people who are just curious about you, and they make you feel lit up.”

Diminishers have often had something happen in their lives to make them feel like they are not lovable as they are, so they start putting up walls and start labeling and diminishing others as a way of protecting themselves. Learning to love themselves and others unconditionally can help break down the walls they've put up and help them realize they and others are completely lovable just the way they are.

Illuminators are curious about others and have the courage to face fear and rejection and start a conversation with people they don't know. Becoming and illuminator can be as simple as saying “Hi, I’m … How is your day going?” and then asking questions like “Are you up to anything exciting?” As you get to know people better and form new connections, your world expands and so does theirs.

As David Brooks says, “If there’s one skill at the center of any healthy family, community, organization or country, it’s the ability to see each other and to make each other feel seen, heard and understood.”

He also says that one of the cruelest things we can do is “to be indifferent to someone, to make someone feel invisible.”

Ultimately, when you diminish someone else, you diminish yourself and make the world a darker place. When you illuminate someone else, you illuminate yourself and make the world a brighter place.

For an experiment this week, start a conversation with someone you don't know and try to really see and understand them.

Quotes of the Week:

  • "I am just a beggar showing other beggars where I’ve found bread.” ―David Brooks

  • “Look at someone you are looking at as someone with infinite value and dignity. Someone so valuable that Jesus was willing to die for that person.” ―David Brooks

Video of the Week:

David Brooks | How to Know a Person

Song of the Week:

Sara Bareilles - Brave (Official Video)

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