The reason the same quality we exhibit affects us more when we see it in others is that we do not offer others the same consideration (or excuses) we give ourselves. For example, when we act irritably or rudely, we subconsciously excuse ourselves or mitigate our actions by creating a storyline in our heads such as “well, I have been under pressure”, “this person wronged me” etc. But when we experience this same quality in others, we are harsher and do not soften our neighbors actions with any storyline or excuse. We assess the action independent of any justification.
For this reason, to help human beings and even a whole society see itself and permanently change, “Life” leads us into experiences with other human beings who exhibit the same qualities in different ways. Here our self-consideration revenges itself. For through our harsher assessment of others, and the sharper and more potent effect of the same qualities, the experience strikes us more relentlessly, and thus helps us see ourselves more clearly, devoid of excuses. From this clarified insight into our own souls through experiencing our neighbors, we find the path to permanent change.
Life is a mirror.
In you I see me, in me I see you.
~Dr. Ikenna Q. Ezealah