Many of my clients have been feeling more angry than usual at what’s going on in the world, or at their partner lately.
Are you feeling more easily angry or triggered lately? Are you seeing someone in your life or in the world as having a character flaw? If so, this blog post is for you.
Let’s look at how we can use this situation for our own healing and growth.
I worked with a client, we’ll call her Suzy, who was judging her husband as controlling. He’d tell her what to do, and she’d get angry at him and they were in a standstill.
She needed to create boundaries with him and stand up for herself, but she felt so much anger at his personality that she would scream back at him and she couldn’t be calm enough with him to be constructive.
We looked at a principle I call the mirror concept: We will see qualities in others that we have in ourselves, both “good” and “bad.” If you admire something about them, it’s an opportunity to nurture that quality in yourself. If you judge something about them, it’s an opportunity to own that quality in yourself, and integrate that quality to use it for good, experiencing more self love and wholeness. In this way, relationships are a powerful vehicle for personal and spiritual growth.
Young kids use the mirror concept without even knowing it. Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you “You’re stupid!” and you might have said, “I know you are but what am I?” or “Takes one to know one.” Consider what’s really happening there. They feel bad about themselves, so they’re trying to make you feel bad about yourself, so they don’t have to feel it.
The flip side of this, fortunately, is that when we admire a trait about someone else, that also mirrors back to us what we too are capable of.
So Suzy realized that the trait of being controlling, when used for good, is the same trait that we use for making decisions, showing up on time, and saying no. She prided herself on being easy going, and realized she was out of balance, and could use more of the positive side of this assertive quality.
When she started creating healthy boundaries and feeling more assertive, she stopped judging this quality in her husband’s personality. She was then able to speak up for herself in a healthy way, and express her feelings about his behavior in a way that he could hear.
So lets use the mirror concept for ourselves.
Think about a quality right now that you admire in your partner or someone else. Do your remember when you first noticed that quality? That you might have felt admiration because you didn’t think you had that quality in yourself. It was almost astonishing to you that someone could be so…organized….ambitious…adventurous….self assured….Could it be that the reason you feel such a strong pull towards that that quality is that you have the capacity to develop it yourself?
Imagine what it would be like for you now as you experience yourself having that same quality, the one that you admired in your partner, and notice what it looks like and feels like for you to be that same way?
Now think of a quality about your partner or someone else that you judge. Now turn the mirror towards yourself. Ask yourself, how or when do I display that quality, even if just a little bit? If you judge your partner as lazy, for example, how are you lazy sometimes? If you judge them as insensitive, how are you insensitive? Because you wouldn’t see it in them if you didn’t have it in yourself.
Now ask yourself: What are the positive aspects of that quality?
In what situations is it useful?
If you were to use this quality for good, how would that benefit you and your relationship?
Seeing this quality in a new light, does this help you feel less angry towards the other person?
I’d love to hear your questions and insights in the comments.
I did a Facebook Live video to answer people’s questions on the Mirror Concept. Here it is:
And if you want help in transforming your judgments and experiencing more inner peace and wholeness, I offer a free 60 min Relationship Strategy Session, where we can uncover the challenges you’re having, and leave the call with a clear plan to resolve them and experience more love and intimacy.
It’s easy to judge another person, but if we stop there, we’re blocked from taking powerful positive action for what we stand for.