Our relationships are a mirror of ourselves. Part 1

We view the world through the lens of ourselves. Fact. What follows then is that what we see in other people and experiences tells us something about ourselves – our experiences, our values, our beliefs.

When we observe in others a trait that we admire – like, integrity, healthy living choices, sense of humor – we probably have some element of that in ourselves. Or, it is something we value and want to bring more into our lives.

Similarly, when we notice and are triggered by someone’s negative action or trait – like, pushiness or indecision – it is also a reflection of something about ourselves. Something we may not like about ourselves or that we have hidden from ourselves. Something that we really ought to be working on to improve.

In different words: People tend to project their own issues, shortcomings, deficiencies, and insecurities onto others, seeing in them exactly what they should rightfully be seeing, and working on, in themselves. The reason our emotions boil up in the first place is that we try to separate ourselves from the emotions and traits we have but don’t necessarily like about ourselves. It’s so much easier to call out and project what we dislike about ourselves onto others.

When we get triggered by (or even notice) a negative trait in others, we should ask ourselves: “What is happening here that I can learn more about myself?” When we do recognize what it is that we can work on, we should be compassionate to ourselves, not beat ourselves up about it. We’re moving forward, not punishing ourselves for the past.

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