Children are wonderful mirrors for us. How do your children annoy you? How do they get you to lose your composure?
One of my daughters could make me raving mad by doing things last-minute. That took all sorts of forms over the years and for the longest time, I claimed to be the exact opposite, always planning way ahead in advance, never running around like a headless chicken last minute. One day, as I was procrastinating preparing a lecture, a new friend made a remark. He said, “Ah, you are one of those last-minute people able to just wing it! I wish I could do that!” My first impulse was to deny this trait vehemently until I realized he was right. What annoyed me most in my daughter was a character trait I had myself but was never allowed to show as a child. The moment I embraced that trait, my daughter was not able to trigger me as much anymore. Interestingly enough she also seemed to be doing these last minute things less. She did not need to mirror it for me any longer.
Chris, one of my clients, was very concerned about his son, who seemed to be unusually shy and inhibited. Chris himself felt he was a shy boy, but forced himself to become an extrovert adult—a go-getter who is outgoing and always the centre of attention. He could not see anything positive about this shyness that his son mirrored for him until I guided him through an exercise to meet this shy sub-personality.
The shy part, appearing as a pale timid little boy with glasses in the visualization exercise, reminded him of several occasions in his life where the shy part within had protected him from getting into trouble. His shyness allowed him to think first and then act, to reflect rather than to make a rash decision. After embracing this part of himself, he was able to let his son live his life as an introvert. The son is now able to find his own way of integrating both sides of his personality.
One of my sisters has a son who is very straight-forward and outspoken. If he does not want to do something, he will say it. My sister likes that. She also has a daughter who according to my sister is “sneaky.” My niece, so claims my sister, will say “yes” when told not to do something and then do it anyways secretly. My sister at times is absolutely furious about this.
As much as I love and admire my sister I have to say that she is not the most direct person. She doesn’t like conflict. If she disagrees people who know her can read it on her face but she will usually not say it. Instead she will find a different way to achieve what she thinks is best. My niece mirrors for my sister a trait she is unaware to have herself. How often has my sister told me things “after the fact”.
The moment my sister could admit to avoiding direct confrontations and perhaps being “sneaky” at times as well, her daughter might feel less judged. It would probably make my niece feel as accepted as her straight-forward brother and thus help her to have more open conversations with other about what she wants and needs.
What do your children mirror for you? How could you improve your relationship by embracing exactly those character traits in yourself?
Contact me if you are interested to work on your relationships or take the Shadow Energetics Workshop in May 2013.