a lot of times i think that i'm pretty different than a lot of people around me. it's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is or describe it without sounding smug. i think it boils down to having a wide worldview, having compassion and desire - and the ability - to see the world through the eyes of others, especially through the eyes of hurting people.
some of this comes from living in a different country for a significant amount of time. although it is possible to live somewhere foreign and not become good at having your worldview widened, it is difficult. you just learn to see things differently. you learn to adjust to new situations, learn new cultures, see all sides to the story, and most of all you learn to appreciate differences. you learn that your way might be good for you, but maybe it's not the best way. you learn to appreciate and love new ideas, different ideas than you have always known.
and for me specifically, living in palestine helped me to see through the eyes of those who are hurting. every day, i had to deal with living in an occupied territory. every day i saw the effects of that occupation - on kids, on adults, on daily life, on political views, on peoples' view of God. and while i know i never had to deal with it even to a fraction of the extent that palestinians deal with it, living in palestine gave me new eyes.
so how does that all translate to now? i think it gives me empathy for those who hurt. i have a desire to help and love those who others might not want to. i have a need to help people find their voice. i have the ability to see beyond the daily grind and think about the big picture of life and how and where i fit into that. i hope that others can see this about me and that it brings a little bit of joy and light into their world.