You may have heard it before, but it is such a strong statement: “We can only see things within others that we see within ourselves.” I think this is one of the most challenging spiritual lessons we are here to learn. When I first read this statement in a spiritual book many years ago, it seemed very odd to me. Like most people, my first response was, “Surely, I do not act like a lot of people who annoy me and push my buttons.” Interestingly, I find that when I facilitate spiritual classes, this statement typically elicits the same response from most others.
Everyone you meet is your mirror. Why is that?
We come to understand ourselves best through our relationships with other people. We can only be triggered by something we have experienced ourselves. The traits we tend to dislike in others are usually the traits we do not like about ourselves. We then tend to judge and criticize these characteristics. This calls to mind the analogy of pointing a blaming finger at someone. One finger is pointing at another person, and three are pointing back to ourselves.
When certain characteristics in someone’s personality trigger a negative reaction from you, there is something within you that is coming up because it is ready to be healed. Usually, it represents issues from your past that have gone unresolved. An example of this would be constantly attracting people who betray you in close relationships because you have not dealt with a parental abandonment issue from your past. What you are seeing is a manifestation of your belief that you cannot trust anyone with your feelings. Here is another example: You are someone who has a constant need to prove to others that you are “right.” Chances are you will attract people who strongly disagree with you because they also have the need to convince others to see life from their perspective. Also, if you dislike controlling people, most likely you dislike some bossy tendencies within yourself.
Every person we meet in life is showing up at the perfect time in our lives to reflect something we need to heal within ourselves. The people with whom you interact are showing you who you are and ultimately providing you with an opportunity to love yourself. Since our mission is to discover what we don’t love and learn to love it, the people who get on our nerves the most are among our greatest teachers.
When you find yourself triggered by a person or situation, ask yourself the following questions:
- “What is this person teaching me that I need to learn to become more whole?”
- “Do I behave like this now?”
- “Did I behave like this in the past?”
Believe it or not, forgiving YOURSELF is the most effective way to disengage from negative interactions with people. We can only love and accept others to the degree that we love and accept ourselves. When you make it a habit to learn from your relationships, eventually you will discover that you can observe negative traits within others without judgment and without getting hooked into someone else’s drama. If you discover that you are in a relationship with someone who habitually abuses you in some way, it is sometimes healthy to limit your exposure to that person or to avoid their company completely. This serves you well only after you have embraced the lessons that you have seen reflected to you through the relationship, followed by choosing to forgive yourself and the other person.
The good news is that the desirable behaviors we see in others is also a reflection of ourselves. When we predominantly choose thoughts of love, we live in a reality of love. In other words, as we focus on our light within, we bring out the light within others.
We came to this earth to return to the remembrance that we are ONE. Everyone we meet has come into our path to help us to remember this.
Do you find it challenging to believe that what you see in others is a reflection of you? I welcome your thoughts.
Love and Light,