Every relationship in our life is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. When we take a closer look, we realize that everybody is a mirror in some way.
One of my favourite philosophers when I was studying philosophy in school was Immanuel Kant. I loved his fabulously clear and simple Categorical Imperative, which guides us on how to treat others: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time want that it should become a universal law.”
Yet, why is it so challenging sometimes to treat people like we want to be treated, with loving kindness and understanding? Why do we judge others? Why do other people trigger us?
Kant also said, “Wir sehen die Dinge nicht, wie sie sind, sondern wie wir sind,” which translates into, “We see things not as they are but as we are.”
What we see in other people is how we are. These mirrors show up in several different ways. James Gilliland summarizes the Seven Essene Mirrors as follows:
- Somebody reflects for us what we are but might not realize that we are. Children are beautiful mirrors. Ask yourself what you notice in your children. Are they showing you something that you are?
- Somebody reflects for us what we judge. We have disowned that particular characteristic and are denying that we could ever be that way. There is a strong emotional charge connected to that particular behaviour or trait. Are you harshly judging others as “selfish”, for example? Is taking care of yourself or your own needs possibly something you never allow yourself to do?
- Somebody reflects back to us what we have lost in some way, for example our playfulness.
- Somebody reflects to us “our most forgotten love”, which could, for example, be a way of life or a relationship.
- Somebody reflects our mother or father to us.
- Somebody reflects our greatest challenges or fears to us.
- Somebody reflects our self-perception. The other person treats us exactly how we perceive ourselves. For example, if I don’t truly respect myself it will show up by others not respecting me.
People reflect to us what we think and fear, and most importantly, how much we love ourselves.
“When we meet each other we also meet ourselves. This is the Mirror Principle that operates in every one of our relationships. And because we always meet ourselves, we also can observe that in every relationship, and even every interaction—at the most basic level—there are only two things really happening. Either we are extending the basic truth ‘I am lovable’ or projecting the basic fear ‘I am not lovable’” (Robert Holden, Loveability, 126/127)
When we lose sight of the truth that we are lovable just for ourselves, we project that fear onto others. Without that essential feeling of loving ourselves, we cannot live successful relationships. Self-love turns our romantic partnerships into truly fulfilling relationships of loving each other unconditional. Self-love is the basis for parents to love their children without conditions, without endless sacrifice or guilt. Self-love is needed to give to people without neglecting ourselves. Self-love guarantees that we truly give from the heart without ulterior motives.
If you want to learn more about mirrors and our shadow, sign up for Darryl Gurney’s four day SHADOW ENERGETICS WORKSHOP from Sept. 25-28.