I am a man who values his own space, partly maybe because I was born a twin. However, I am continually humbled by the realisation of a truth of development – that we develop through vital others.

At key points in my life, sometimes almost magically, someone has presented who is to play a vital role in my own development. Consider with me, what are the qualities of these special others through which we grow?

These are the ones who gift themselves in service of our growth. What does this mean?

There are many we may meet whose goal is to direct and tell us what they think the way forward is for ourselves. Their rightness and unequivocal certainty, imposes the forward: “I think you should do this or that?”.  Though telling may be vital when in times of urgency or crisis, who do we overlook when we follow the dictates of others?

Your developmental journey cannot be told or be known by another and so we require ‘special others’ who in their willingness to ‘not know’- that is to not direct or tell – we can explore and discover the way forward for ourselves. Rather than being told the answer we can instead learn through their insightful questions. These are the ones – who are willing to lose their own way – to consciously ‘not know’ when they think they know – so that we may find our own way.

This is a remarkable gift of humanity, when another is willing to be lost, that you in turn may be found – that we can borrow the eyes of certain others in whom we trust sufficiently to see and come to know more about ourselves.

What greater gift is there in today’s world – what greater act of service – to offer our full presence to another – so that the other can experience what it is to be fully seen and heard – to be fully attended. To be able to be oneself, without condition.

I have recently completed a little module of videos exploring the remarkable nature of self as an instrument. This looks at the nature of how we relate through discovering a group of essential and remarkable inner instruments and how you can enable the growth of others as well as yourself. Here’s an introductory short film that discusses this important developmental work, if you wish to look and explore more.

For now – I am left today with the sobering realisation of the difference of one – how one person, who is willing to gift their presence and attention to another can make a world of difference to if and how we develop.