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Quote: What Is Most Personal Is Most Universal

April 28, 2020

Carl R. Rogers made the comment, “What is most personal is most universal.”

Writers are often encouraged to write about their private lives, even if it’s through their fictional characters, because our most personal thoughts, feelings and experiences are more universal than we realise.

Henri Nouwen comments:

We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.” But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let’s not have “double lives”; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.

by Susan Barnes
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Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith