(Author's Note: While this article was originally written about relationships with our "other half", and was originally entitled "I Married My Mirror", its tenets apply to all of our relationships whether at home, at work, or at the grocery store.)
Relationships are funny... You go around searching for the 'perfect' mate, and of course, as many of you know, the 'perfect' mate turns out to be not so perfect. What happened? Since everyone is your reflection, you ended up with the perfect reflection of yourself. And of course, your mate mirrors those parts of you that you don't accept as well as those parts of you that you love.
At first, you may see only the positive side of the reflection, then after a few weeks (months, years, or in some cases days) you start seeing the dark side of the mirror. The side of yourself that you hate to admit you have — the criticizer, the one who wants everything done a certain way, the one who doesn't like you at the weight or size you are, the one who thinks you need improving... So your mate is actually only reflecting or telling you what you are subconsciously telling yourself. Once you realize that and remember it in the 'crisis times', you are on the road to a beautiful relationship.
You're The One Who's Thinking It?
One of the keys, I found, when I felt (or imagined) some criticism to be coming my way, was to remind myself that this was really me talking to myself. Did I really believe those things about myself? When I was willing to be honest with myself, I saw that, yes indeed, those were my inner feelings and thoughts. Once I handled that aspect, I was able to once again see the radiant side of my mirror. I was once again able to let the loving child that I am (and that we all are) be expressed through my partner.
When I allowed myself the time to be playful, my mirror was a true reflection of my inner state. I noticed that the more I 'lightened up', the more my relationship became playful (and less critical, judgmental, etc.). When I chose to forgive my imperfections and laugh at them, so did my partner.
It is interesting to note that until I understood this fundamental truth (the mirror image), I created relationships that were full of the traits I could not (would not) accept in myself. As I was busy trying to hide those aspects I did not love, my true mirror reflected the truth back to me. If I was covering up anger, my mate would be expressing a lot of anger; if I was being critical of myself or others, then I would also receive the same treatment, or be a witness to him criticizing others.
Placing the Blame on Others
It is so easy to place the blame on others for whatever negativity comes up — we've been trained that way. We've, in most cases, been raised hearing: "You make me so angry", "I couldn't sleep because you were out late", "It's your fault I burnt the dinner", etc.
Of course the responsibility for our response is always ours... whether the feeling is of joy, sadness, anger, it always originates within us. You are the one who chooses to express a particular mood or feeling. No one can "make you" angry. The "other" simply is being what they choose to be at that moment, and we choose how we respond, whether with anger or acceptance.
To give an extreme example, let's imagine that someone is holding a gun to your head and saying "be happy". Can they really "make you" be happy? Obviously not! Even if they said, "be angry", and while in that situation this would be easier for you to do, it still would be your choice.
It's Up To Me!
It was such a relief when I finally understood that I had the key to make my life and my relationship a happy, joyful, loving, and accepting union. I had to treat myself with love and acceptance, and the reflection would be true to that reality. I have seen my relationship with my husband go from one where criticism and blame reigned supreme, to one where understanding, patience, love, joy, and harmony abide. And it did not involve changing "him"!
We often fall into the fallacy of thinking, "If only he/she were different..." The truth is that you are the one that has to change. Once you are different, your mirror will of course reflect the new you.
Who Do You See In The Mirror?
When I look at my mirror now, I see someone who wants my highest good, who understands my errors, and is willing to overlook them. I see a relationship where each desires the best for the other, and each wants to have more joy and aliveness in each and every moment.
It is a great pleasure to create the life you love to live, and to also "create" the person to share it with. If you feel that your relationship is at a stand-still, perhaps you need to examine your relationship with yourself. Every time you want to place the blame on your partner, stop, and instead, take responsibility for the situation and your emotions. See how your mate is expressing what you really feel in the dark recesses of your mind.
Throw some light on your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about yourself. Change them to more loving and accepting thoughts, and you will see your mate's behavior change to reflect the changes within you. The mirror always tells the truth — it's not always necessary to throw out the mirror and get a new one.
Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth
by Brad Blanton.
Dr. Blanton coaches us on how to have lives that work, how to have relationships that are alive and passionate, and how to create intimacy where none exists. As we have been taught by the philosophical and spiritual sources of our culture for thousands of years, from Plato to Nietzsche, from the Bible to Emerson, the truth shall set you free.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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