In the spiritual practice of life, people we encounter are always mirrors for us. Years ago, my father’s girlfriend even told me, “The greatest piece of wisdom I can give you is, everyone you meet is for a reason.” That has stuck through me through the years as not only a philosophy, but as a practice. The reason is that we can better understand ourselves through the reflection of another.
When I first read Viktor E. Frankl’s, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and heard this reflection concept, it pissed me off to no end that I need others to know myself. This particular quote is what struck my heart and scrambled my brain the most:
“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
What we judge in others can often be what we judge in ourselves, or growth that we have evolved from, or things that are unknown and scary to us. In our personal relationships, especially with love, I feel is the ultimate place of growth for oneself. When faced with a partner you are forced to look at “your dark shit”.
Whether you shut down, freak out, get jealous, or act out. All of these examples are just separating yourself from love. Recently, I just traveled to Panama with a lover of mine, where he lives. The the amazing scenery what was breathtaking, but what was the most beautiful experience was the lessons I learned on the inside through gazing at the mirror reflecting who is the fairest of them all. Yourself.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” wrote Eleanor Roosevelt in her autobiography. In our world of total connection and access into people’s lives it can be so easy to compare yourself to others that leaves you feeling less than. So when faced with situations that are making you feel stupid, jealous, worried, nervous, whatever the situation, you are the one that is choosing that as your experience.
Realizing this concept is especially powerful to acknowledge in your relationships. Let me clarify this concept, as it can be a bit tricky sometimes. Say your partner is mean or judging you, and you think this is acceptable because somewhere in life you must be judging people and being mean to them. No, that is not it. The underlying lesson, or mirror would be what part of you believes that you deserve to be treated meanly? This is how we start to uncover parts of ourselves that otherwise remain unchallenged.
Just like Frankl was saying, part of the mirror is helping us break out of whatever fear or victimhood we have been living in and rise up to the full love we have for ourselves. That is the power of reflection. When you are one on one with each, hide as you might, it all starts to come out in the laundry. Especially when you take a trip with someone to a country where you can’t hid behind all the gizmos and gadgets that occupy our modern lives.
So ask yourselves these questions:
Where have I been giving up my own power?
Who have I let make me feel less than special?
What situations really take me out of my center?
The more you start to understand your ticks and triggers the better we can navigate them with ourselves and others. For me, when I’m being a hardass or bitchy, I am usually feel the most vulnerable about a situation. That is my armor, my protection for being seen for being sensitive to the situation. The funny thing is about armor is that it blocks you from feeling totally free in yourself, and in the moment.
Then the moment is over and you acted like a hard ass and your heart hurts more because you didn’t set it free. Setting your heart free is what I feel we are here to do on Earth. I feel that is ultimate mastery to constantly be bringing awareness to in every moment.
So, mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? It’s you. It’s all of you. The light, the dark, the experiences, the way you were raised, all of it. The more we start to acknowledge and move forward the more freedom we have in our lives on a real level not just chasing down drinks, drugs, and sex to fill a void within us.
This is what I learned from my mirror. To love yourself and others in a way that makes them feel free by acknowledging what is coming up from the experience you are in, rather than hiding or turning into little old poor me. So, my advice is look at the entire world as a lesson, you the observer, and the universe the conductor of it all. All the everything on the ride called life with light and love.
Photo Credit: Andrew Masi of www.masifoto.com