Have you noticed that when you meet someone for the first time, you are usually aware of what you like or do not like about that person? We like people for their obviously identifiable traits: they are physically attractive, we like the same music, our children are the same age, and so forth.
Sometimes, it is not so easy to identify why we do or do not like someone. A subtle, often imperceptible energy draws us closer to someone, or drives us away. This energy represents the subconscious, hard-to-identify aspects of ourselves with which we have lost touch.
When we notice someone’s kindness, patience, or thoughtfulness, we are noticing these characteristics in ourselves. Others reflect our positive qualities back to us. In contrast, that which we do not like about another person, or qualities to which we react negatively, are the disowned, or hidden aspects of our personalities.
A NEGATIVE REACTION IS YOUR SIGNAL FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN.
The opportunity to learn about oneself appears in the uncomfortable space of looking at our negative qualities. As humans, it is natural to want to pay attention to what we like about others and ourselves. The positive is always easier to accept and work with than the negative. The key to dealing with negative qualities is to not be afraid of them. By coming into contact with the negative qualities we see in others, we are shining a bright light in the corners of our existence. Sometimes the cockroaches scramble out of the corners. The corners are scary, gross, disagreeable. AND there is the opportunity to scrub the corners. Here is an example of how I experienced discomfort and learned a powerful lesson as a result:
I was experiencing difficulties with someone in my life. I believed she wanted to control me, that she did not respect my perspective, or my way of doing things. My conversations with this person were usually constricted and inauthentic.
When my teacher invited me to examine this relationship more closely, I had difficulty looking at and accepting the reflection of myself in this person. I said, “I am nothing like this person! She is controlling and insecure. She thinks I do things the wrong way. She is the one with the problem!” As I glanced sideways into the mirror of my own being, I saw my own controlling behaviors and insecurities. I squirmed in discomfort. I saw that I tried to control the way she thought about me, instead of letting her think whatever she wanted. I saw my own self-judgment about doing things the wrong way. The examination of myself in her was a huge lesson for me.
I learned to recognize I have some negative qualities that balance my positive qualities. And that is okay. I learned that I can accept the range of aspects of my personality. And do you know what happened when I accepted my entire personality? Not only have I become less harsh and judgmental of myself, I am much gentler with others. The reflection of myself in others shows me who I am. The rest of the work is in loving myself and, by default, loving others more fully.
What do you have to gain by seeing yourself in others? I can help you look in the mirror, guiding you with compassion and skill. Call me to discover your hidden self. 512-593-0583. firstname.lastname@example.org