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Young people, break your mirrors! Know how to laugh at yourselves! Pope Francis recommends

Le pape François rencontre les Youtubeurs du monde entier au 6e Congrès mondial du réseau éducatif Scholas Occurrentes au Saint-Siège ©HO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/04/17

Gives some concrete advice for living in a culture too focused on "contemplating oneself"

Here’s some wisdom from Pope Francis today, given when he met with young people of the Shalom Community. The pope spoke off-the-cuff in his native Spanish, replying to questions from three representatives of the youth.

One of the things he spoke about was the culture of being focused on ourselves.

Here’s what he said:

[Answering one of the young people, referring to what she said:] You escaped from something that causes sadness, which is being centered on oneself, self-referentialism. A young person who closes in on himself, who lives only for himself, ends up being — and I hope you understand this word because it’s an Argentinean word — empachado (could be rendered as overdosed, or bloated, or stuffed to the point of feeling ill). That is, full of self-referentialism. There’s an image that comes to mind — this culture that it falls to us to live in, it’s very egotistical, [characterized] by looking at oneself. It has a very large dose of narcissism, of existing contemplating oneself, and therefore, ignoring others. This narcissism causes sadness because you live worried about putting your makeup on your soul every day, of appearing better than you are, of considering whether you are more beautiful than the others … it’s mirror sickness. Young people, break your mirrors! Don’t look in the mirror because the mirror plays tricks on you. Look outside yourself, look toward others; escape from this world, from this culture that we are living in — which you referred to — which is consumerist and narcissist. And if one day you want to look in the mirror, here’s some advice for you: Look in the mirror to laugh at yourself. Try it some day. Look, and begin to laugh at what you see there. It will refresh your soul. To know how to laugh at oneself gives joy, and saves us from the tendency of narcissism.

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Pope Francis
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