You don't need to live with relationship upsets. Instead, you can use them to heal and transform your life!
Everyone of us from time to time gets triggered in relationships. Someone will do something or says something that results in us feeling upset, angry, sad, jealous, betrayed, defensive, etc. Very often, this is a pattern that happens again and again with the same person and often with multiple people in our lives. One of the most common places that this happens is with people we love, such as our spouse, partner, siblings or parents.
Every trigger where you feel emotionally upset with others are opportunities to heal your life, if you take responsibility for your side of the 'mirror' and you know how to do the transformation. Anytime we are "triggered" or have a significant "charge" against someone else or what they have done, then there is an unresolved root wound or limiting belief within us that attracts that experience and perception. When we resolve this within ourselves, we no longer attract these uncomfortable experiences into our lives. Instead, we have the capacity to move into true compassion for ourselves and the other people and learn to 'accept and love what is'.
Let's pretend for a moment that the other person (even if they appear to be behaving 'badly') is an amazing soul, coming to reflect back to you those places where you are not loving you or where past wounds take you into a pattern of fear. That beautiful soul is totally loyal in reflecting this back to you and will never give up on you until you get the lesson and return to your wholeness. You could push that person away but other perfect vibrational matches to your wound will inevitably show up until the end of time, until you heal and return to love. To find freedom from the mirror, you must heal your own wounds which will shift your own vibration to peace.
So you might wonder about the other person – how can you love them and that behavior? "They are truly nasty! It is all their "shit", not mine", your own mind will say.
Yes, that person might be dishonest or a bully or behave in ways that are not loving towards you or others, so in that way they may also be in need of healing. They may be coming from their own wounds and have their own inner work to do too. However, you will never change the situation by trying to fix them or staying in your own emotional drama.
Where you do have power is to work with your side of the mirror and as Gandhi said "Be the Change." You have control of your own perceptions and reactions and can do the work to change your own vibration. If you do, then you will not experience that mirror again or if you do, you will not have a charge towards it – you will be neutral, accepting or compassionate. That other soul will either be released from their responsibility to hold the mirror and will either not do the behavior again, or they may continue the behavior with others, but it will not affect you. That person, or people with behaviors that trigger you like that will vibrate out of your life. They won't be in sync with you anymore. You will not 'need' the mirror anymore because you have healed.
There are several kinds of mirrors and subtle mirrors that you will want to be aware of because by knowing about the types of mirrors, it will help you to do the analysis of your reaction/trigger and understand your path to healing. Once you know what the reflection is showing you, you will be able to release it through forgiveness, return to love and find gratitude for that soul that was pointing out your wounds. Yes, although you may be upset with the other person now, the outcome of healing this is love and gratitude.
In this article, you will learn about 3 of these mirrors.
I became aware of the 'first mirror of relationship' back in 1997. I had left IBM in anger and burnout. I decided to do my own inner search for meaning while traveling around the world. After about 8-9 months of travel, I finally ended up in India where I met this "seemingly crazy, spiritual, new age woman, named Susan. She took me on a trip into a totally new understanding of reality that was on the opposite end of the universe from IBM!
Susan was exactly the teacher I was looking for at that time. Very early on, as we traveled together, she began to teach me about the first mirror.... what Gregg Braden (A favorite teacher/author of mine) calls, "The Mirror of the Moment"
The first mirror goes something like this: If you are triggered by a behavior, words or actions from someone else, turn that around and honestly ask yourself, "Do I do that behavior or have I ever done that behavior?" You may also ask yourself, "When is the first time I felt this way?" and allow your subconscious to give you a memory.
Start by getting clear on the behavior that got you upset. Were they dishonest? Did they cheat you? Ignore you? Manipulated you? Not listen to you? Were they angry or violent? How did they make you feel? What label would you put on them... Are they a bitch? coward? incompetent? cheater? idiot?
Now examine yourself and your own history related to this behavior. Have you ever done that behavior yourself or something very similar? Be honest and open with yourself. Let go of any protection you have around seeing this quality in yourself. If it is the first mirror that is reflecting back to you, then you will find that you have also done this and maybe you are still carrying the shame of it at some level. This behavior is easier to project onto others than accept in yourself. When you don't 'own it' you set up the 'mirror of the moment' in your reality and it becomes a recurring pattern of attracting that behavior in others, (with our accompanying reaction) until we forgive ourselves and the experience.
With Susan in India, I was processing several mirrors per day and SHE was my mirror. Several times a day I would get furious with her, but I would process the mirror as she taught me.
I would look at the behavior and go back to my earliest memory of a similar reaction or where I had done a similar behavior and I would forgive myself and the person. Then, I would forgive everyone that had given me a similar experience through my life. I just allowed my subconscious to bring up the memories, one at a time and worked with each one until I got back to Susan and forgave her. And, I also forgave myself. Susan taught me her method of forgiving these experiences which was to imagine sending them love, surrounding them with light and then sending them my forgiveness. Love - Light - Forgiveness.
One day with Susan, I came to a behavior that I could not figure out. Susan acted in a very racist way. We were walking along in Nepal and there were some Chinese children coming up to me. I adore children and I was talking to them and being playful with them. Susan said, "Get those dirty Chinese children away from us! They are dreadful. I want nothing to do with them. Stop talking to them and tell them to go away!"
Once again, I was mad at Susan. I went inside and identified the behavior that triggered me and what came to me was racism. Susan, in other discussions, had also told me how bad the Chinese race had been too. I went inside and tried to be honest with myself. Was I racist? Had I behaved in racist ways? Could I own being a racist sometimes in my own behavior? Had I been treated in a racist way?
I could not find this in me, at least not at the time, so I could not resolve the mirror and continued to be angry and judgmental with Susan about her racist tendencies. But it puzzled me. What was I not seeing? How could I get free of this mirror?
What I was not seeing was the Mirror of Judgment - the second mirror of relationship. A couple of months after that experience with Susan is when I came across a book by Gregg Braden and he talked about the Mirror of Judgment.
In this mirror, which is just subtly different from the first, you ask, "Do I judge that person for their behavior" When I asked honestly within myself if I judged Susan for being a racist, the answer was yes. I had found my mirror. A racist judges a person based on race and here I was judging the judge. It was an enlightening experience for me and I quickly let go of the mirror and began to examine other places where I judged people. There was a lot! As human beings in this experience, the Mirror of Judgment" is everywhere. Check out the energy behind the news, in Facebook and other social media. People are playing out this mirror everywhere!
Where do you judge others?
How about you? Look at your trigger experiences in life. Are you unable to come to compassion for the other person and release your mirror because you feel the right to hold onto your judgment and condemnation of them and their behaviors? Check in with yourself honestly. Then forgive yourself for your judgment and forgive them and let it all go. You have no need to hold onto this mirror. Step into mastery of this mirror whenever it arises and come back to compassion and love. Know that everyone is just doing the best that they can based on their own experiences, programming and wounds. If you had lived their life, could you also have taken on that behavior? Probably so.
I remember being really triggered with my girlfriend some years ago. We were walking down the street. We were holding hands and she said, "let's skip" and started to pull me forward and skip down the street. I felt an anger well within me and my ego voice said, "NO, That is stupid. Childish! I won't do it." I realized that with something as simple, fun and innocent as this, I was 'over -the -top' emotional. I dug my heals in and would not do it and I carried the anger for quite a while.
When I got into analyzing what this could be, I looked at the first mirror, then the second mirror and neither seemed to fit. When I looked at the third mirror, I got it. I was angry because she had what I had lost. I had lost or rejected or given away 'my playful child''. I had become serious and did not know how to connect with the playful child energy within me anymore. I had projected my anger onto her, because she did own her playful inner child and a part of me was jealous that I could not be as she was.
When I was a child, I did everything I could to feel that my Dad loved me and was proud of me. He could never say those things. Instead, from his upbringing, he learned that to love someone was to be critical of them to help them get better. I would never hear from him, "I love you!" or "I am proud of you!", so as a little child, I changed my behavior to things that he did not criticize. In this process, I decided that play was not important to him and would not make him love me, so I shifted into behaving like a serious adult and let go of my playful child. I stopped playing and went to work for my father. The only time I would let my child out was when I got drunk. Once, I remember saying that I would never give up drinking because I liked the silly child-like behavior that would come out only when I lost my inhibitions in drinking.
The child in us is precious and for most of us, we have lost aspects of our child. When we lose aspects of ourselves, life will mirror those lost aspects back to us. Anything we have rejected, given up or lost is part of our soul and to be whole again, we need to claim those parts back. This third mirror shows us what we have lost and invites us to notice it and restore it back into our being.
What parts of yourself have you lost or given away?
This 'mirror work' is the basis of the "Shadow-work". Our shadows are all the light and dark that we have lost, rejected, projected or given away in order to survive and feel loved. Healing our Shadow is often connected to healing our inner child. When we claim back those parts, and heal these wounds, we claim back the power that they hold for us. Shadows have gifts for us that can help us on our path of life. Owning them will restore us into greater love, expansion and joy. To do Shadow work is to gain back our authentic power.
What would it be like to never again attract trigger experiences into your life? What would it be like to be at peace no matter what someone says or does. What would it be like to just love and accept people for who and where they are? What if others accepted you exactly as you are and as you grow? What if you loved yourself unconditionally?
Working with love and wholeness is the greatest work we can do. I invite you to start noticing your mirrors, and take responsibility for healing them. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact me.
Richard Schultz assists leaders in unlocking their true potential, authentic power and inner wisdom to create extraordinary, high impact lives. Courses, life mentoring and dialogue with Richard can help you live your legacy and build capacity to thrive with change!