Seth Barnes: It is Important to Leave Your Familiar World Behind to Get Perspective

My parents loved me the best they could, but our home was a claustrophobic place by the time I was 18. The four walls of my bedroom were not going to contain me. The world was beckoning me to leave.

My imagination alone transported me. I’d seen pictures of the world’s many wonders, but if ever I was going to experience the volcanoes of Indonesia or the expanse of the Great Rift Valley, I was going to have to leave.

As children, we look to our parents and friends for our identity. A child says, “My dad is better than your dad.” Why is that significant? Because if his dad is better, then the child, by extension is better too. His identity is secure. We are who we are in part because of the people we care about.

But as children mature, being an extension of a parent is no longer enough. They become aware of other points of reference. Psychologists call the process individuation — becoming an individual, learning to think for yourself.

To understand objective truth, we have to pull free from our subjective reality. And this is why it is important to leave home and see the world.

Those who never leave their hometown don’t get the chance to get outside their own bubble. Jim Carrey’s character in the Truman Show is the last one to realize that he’s living in a phony world. If he’s ever to see things as they are, he needs to leave.

The same goes for all of us. A fish can’t know how small its tank is until it’s dropped in the ocean. We have to leave our familiar world behind to begin to see how small it really is.

Typically, this comes around age 18 when young people go off to college. But more and more young people are seeing that even college may be too small a venue to perceive the world through the right lens. They have so much to leave if they are to see the world correctly.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Seth Barnes