It’s a rare day when we don’t see our reflection, either in a mirror or a random window as we walk by. We see who we are physically and sometimes we like what we see and think to ourselves…nice, I nailed it today! Other days we look and talk negatively…bad hair day, not a good outfit or gosh, I look terrible.
But do you ever look deeply into that reflection, beyond all the tangible? Beyond all the physical and material appearance?
Who do you see in the mirror? Do you see who you are? Do you see the person you’ve become or the person you wish to be? What if you could see yourself in another human being? What if, instead of a mirror on the wall, you looked at everyone around you, as your mirror. And what if all those people, mirrors, would be your life teachers?
What is Mirror, Mirror?
This is the basis of the mirror, mirror concept.
I’ve come to love mirror, mirror, but I didn’t truly understand it when I first heard about it. The idea is that when you feel triggered by someone else, it is often a reflection of something in yourself that you don’t like or wish you could change. This is how they teach us, by shining a light on places deep inside that are hidden, so we can grow, becoming better versions of ourselves.
“To love is to recognize yourself in another.”
We are surrounded by teachers on a daily basis. They are the people that break your heart. They are your friends. They are co-workers. They are the people you love and adore most, but they’re often, the people you enjoy the least…or maybe even dislike?
Let’s be honest, it’s really difficult to think that someone you don’t feel warmth for, could offer you valuable information about yourself or worse yet, you might discover you are just like them?!
I resisted this notion for a very long time, until I started practicing. To make this a bit more clear, I’m going to share a very personal example of mirror, mirror that has been the most profound and life-changing for me.
When I married my husband, he had two young kids (now 15 & 17) and one ex-wife, the children’s Mother. In the beginning, I tried to be her friend and fit into the family structure. At that time in my life, I desperately wanted to have a family. I wanted to be a Mother. I wanted to love children and have them love me back the way I love my Mom. I wanted to be called Mommy and to experience the bond only a parent and child can share.
Naively, I jumped into this new dynamic with an open heart and mind. BUT…this vision of inclusion and family, was not to be. His ex-wife disliked me. There was more drama than I could ever have anticipated. I won’t go into details, but for years, it’s been a battle, even for the simplest of decisions.
There have been periods of time when we seemed to make progress, but quickly the tides would turn and we were simply two people, in proximity, only because of the middleman. Needless to say, my disdain for her grew…a lot! To be honest, I said I hated her. I don’t hate anyone, but something about her just got to me. I was angry, resentful, quick to judge, talking negatively, finding fault and questioning her motives with every decision she made.
She triggered me in a way I’d never experienced. Carrying around all this negative energy is exhausting and like poison, it was slowly causing me to become someone I am not and do not want to be.
Fast forward, deep in my journey of personal growth, I’m diligently examining myself, my past, my relationships and my dreams. I find that there is one “issue” I’m not addressing, like a giant tumor of anger and hate, festering in my belly…the ex-wife. I just couldn’t allow myself to have good feelings toward her and I didn’t like that about myself.
With a strong need to overcome this, the concept of mirror, mirror kept popping up. I finally decided to take a look. Could she be a mirror for me? It turns out, she was.
What did she show me?
She was their Mother and nothing I could do would change the bond they had. I would always and only be their friend. Even when she made mistakes, they looked at her with love and pride because she was and always will be, their Mother. They are good and happy kids which means she is doing something very right. She provides well for them and has given them opportunities that very few kids will ever have.
I was jealous. She had the role I’d always wanted and even when she wasn’t at our home with the kids, I still couldn’t be their Mother. I partly blamed her for my not being a Mother.
She moved across the country to live in a place she loves. I used to say that was selfish of her, but honestly, I don’t blame her for choosing Oregon over Indiana. I was just envious that she was having a super time in Oregon while I was stuck in Ohio. She was living the lifestyle I wanted to live again, but had not since leaving Colorado. She was taking the kids to experience all of the activities I would have liked to teach and share with my kids.
She has been divorced and remarried. I judged her for those decisions, but the truth is, I’ve done the same thing! I would take jabs at her for her relationship patterns, even though I had similar ones. She’s now found a man that’s a kindred spirit. They live a good, adventurous life and enjoy their successes.
Whenever she changed plans, I would jump to the conclusion that she had an ulterior motive and secretly hope the plan would fail, just so I could feel better about myself as I hovered on the outskirts of this family I didn’t feel wholly part of. I was trying to find everything wrong with her.
As much as I didn’t want to see it before, our lives have traveled a parallel course. If we met on the street, we would probably be friends and have a lot of fun together. We have way more in common than not and share many of the same life experiences, both good and bad. But maybe, just maybe, she’s a few steps ahead of me on her own path of personal growth, taking all life’s lessons and stepping toward her best self.
She has gone after the life she wanted and yes, there have been some hiccups along the way, but I have to acknowledge the fact that she didn’t just settle and give up.
She has been my mirror and she has been my teacher. I don’t think it’s any accident she is the ex-wife in my world. I feel like I know her well because I see myself in her. When I criticized her choices, I was actually criticizing myself because I’d made many of the same choices. When I was hating on her, I was actually hating on myself. It was me that had to let go of my own baggage.
Never. And I mean never….in a million years would I ever have thought I’d be writing these words. But I’ve been humbled, once again, by the power of growth and a willingness to look at myself under a microscope.
The most powerful part of all this is that as soon as I accepted everything she has taught me, the anger and resentment left my body. And I mean it left so darn fast! It’s like I snapped my finger and it vanished. I sincerely wish her all the best. I had to love and free her to help me free and love myself.
I challenge you to think about that person that triggers you the most because if you open your heart to the possibility and take the time to look in that mirror, you may find a peace and freedom you’ve not thought possible. I guarantee you’ll grow and you will never look at people in the same way again.
She had the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and it took only her laugh to realize that beauty was the least of her.
Does this resonate? Is there a person or a situation that is weighing on your mind? Please share…I’d love to hear from you!