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Looking into the Mirror of How We See Others

By Phyllis Stein
November 17, 2009



Other people and our perceptions of them are a great mirror for what is going on inside us. Learn how this can be a source of great joy.



After doing the 3-step anger process, we find out, often to our great surprise,  that the anger we were sure was about something that someone else has done or said was actually a reflection of our own inner child's anger at us for treating her the same way.   Others, and our feelings about them, are just a mirror for us.  Similarly, we are amazed to discover that what we don't like about someone else reflects what a judgmental wounded part of us does not like about us.   At some point, we come to realize that our reactions to other people are a powerful tool for growth, a mirror for our own inner life and we actually can become grateful for the gifts that they are.   I remember, for example, when I was married being so focused on how disconnected my husband was from his little boy, how focused I was on trying to find a way to help him connect, clueless that this was a reflection of how I was treating my own little girl.  The list goes on.

                Last weekend, I had a revelation about the difference between validating myself for doing and validating myself for being.  I was stunned to realize that although I am very good at validating myself for doing (really have made some progress there), I was not meeting my little girl's deeper need to be actively validated for being.  When I do something, in general, I am delighted in it.  But validating my little girl for her qualities, for being who she is, something I was definitely not doing enough of. 

                I was sharing this with my ex-husband and he offered me this.  When we look at other people, we not only see the things that we dislike but we also see qualities that we appreciate.   What if the things that we appreciate are also mirrors for who we are, just as the things we do not appreciate are?  I tried it on.  There is a man who works for me who has a beautiful, caring heart, and I deeply appreciate his sweetness whenever I am with him.  What if my appreciation of his sweetness was a reflection of my own? My little girl smiled.

                I spend a lot of time appreciating the people around me. I delight in them.  Thanks to Inner Bonding, loving people comes easily.  I think now, using the mirror, I can complete the circle.   Margaret recently wrote "The circle of giving and receiving love regenerates your energy.  One without the other depletes your energy."  I know that this sounds like Inner Bonding 101, but now I understand in a much deeper way, that the circle of giving and receiving of love operates just as much on the inner level.  That loving others for their essential qualities, seeing my qualities mirrored in them, can create a circle of love that comes straight back to my little girl, thru me, thru my loving adult.   One of the translations of the word "Namaste" in Wikipedia is "All that is best and highest in me greets/salutes all that is best and highest in you."  It's something like that.



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