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What do the people around you reflect?

Many times I’ve come across the concept that the other people that I encounter are mirrors for what’s happening within me. The first time I encountered the phrase I sat back and contemplated it, rolling the phrase “People are mirrors for your inner self.” I knew it was important, but I didn’t quite understand it or realize it.

For many years after I tried to grasp the concept, tried to feel what it means for others to be a mirror of myself or to be a mirror for the person. I think once the concept is fully realized in a person will change the whole person’s behavior and the way they interact with people. Once fully realized, a person can see or feel the sweeping undertows of an interaction with another person and what is truly going on in a situation.

A small piece of Maya or illusion is removed.

Sometimes my brain has a very hard time conceptualizing a particular concept. This was one such concept. My brain twisted and bent as it strived to make sense of people mirroring me for a few years now. Often I would meet a person and do my best to see what was being mirrored back at me only to not be able to find anything at all. I would be asking the question: “What is it that I don’t like about them? What is it that annoys me?”

And if they were really annoying or infuriating to me I would say to myself, “Oh God, seriously? I really hope I am not like that at all!”

It was rare that the mirror would spawn deep reflection – my brain hurt – until I finally realized a small part of the concept just last month: Whatever I get annoyed about, I am. This was beautifully shown to me by the Universe and a friend of mine. I was complaining to her about how some people make plans: “They leave it all up in the air and I never know if we are actually going to meet or not! And I get so confused sometimes!”

My friend said: “You do that too.”

Stunned, my words died in midsentence. “What? When?”

She proceeded to give me several examples of when I had done the exact thing I was complaining about.

And it hit me: I am what I complain about.

Last week I witnessed a woman who was reflecting parts of me that I don’t like to look at or accept within myself. Because I refused to look at this aspect of me my reaction to her became stronger and stronger as I fought it – I wasn’t looking at my victim state because I wasn’t being a victim therefore why should I look there?

Deeper reflection over time revealed that there are still areas of my life where the victim mentality comes into play. By allowing myself to have a victim mentality and not being on guard of my mental patterns I step out of my personal power. I don’t take full responsibility for my life, giving it away to whatever fits in that moment of time.

Something else I have recently noticed is that in all the mirrors I’ve ever looked at, I was always trying to find what was wrong with me. I was always asking the wrong questions. I believe that asking those questions was part of the reason that I had such a hard time conceptualizing the idea – I didn’t believe that a person could mirror positive aspects of me too.

The Universe is not a tyrant.

The Universe is expressed in my reality right now as a duality – there is positive and there is negative and therefore mirrors in my life express both. Mirrors can be a positive experience!

Mirrors can be positive and beautiful too, just like you!

Realizing the other part – that you are a mirror for others – can change interactions with others as well. There are times when I have been hanging out with a person and something gets triggered. From my perspective I’ve done nothing to provoke or annoy the person, yet something happened for them that wasn’t pleasant.

Understanding that I may have mirrored for another an aspect they hate allows more acceptance and compassion to flow from me to them. Having experienced my own reaction to someone innocently reflecting one of my most undesirable aspects of myself in my opinion, I can totally empathize with a person who receives the same from me.

When a reaction like this happens, if a person is able to be conscious and allow the reaction to happen without judgment more clarity for both people can be attained. The person on the receiving end is able to step back from the situation and stay calm. He is able to practice allowance, his own wisdom and compassion. He needs to be able to decipher what is going in the situation – is he a mirror, or is he something more? How can he best respond to this situation? Does the reactor need space?

Sometimes the only thing the receiver can do is accept it. Sometimes the receiver must intervene. I would love to one day have the ability to take all with calmness and yet give out exactly what the other person needs to learn what the Universe is trying to teach, just like the story of a monk who threw his shoe at a student to make a point, or Jesus turning the merchants tables over in the temple in anger. (I’m sure most traditions have similar stories that I’d love to hear about as they bring a smile to my lips).

The person reacting needs to be able to fully react without judgment or fear, and learn from his reaction by having the space to process what happened and why. This must processing must be done on the reactors own terms and in his own time.

I feel like this happens quite often on a less extreme scale in many of my interactions with people, and part of the reason why I don’t want to respond to certain people or vice versa. I truly believe that every encounter with another is a learning opportunity. If I could use them all without being overwhelmed or driven crazy, I would! 🙂

P.S. Pictures in today’s blog posts were not taken by me. Click the image to go to the owners Flickr portfolio.