If you think someone’s post is about you, truth is it probably isn’t, but you probably see yourself in it. Suggestion: Don’t get upset with the mirror . . . fix the reflection.
I picked up this lovely quote from Instagram account: 1.spiritual.
The first time I heard about the “mirror” concept was when I was 20-years-old and one of my best friend’s grandmother (Grammy) told me about it. She said that the things we don’t like or we get angry about in others are merely a reflection of the issues we have within ourselves that we need to address.
When she told me this, we were sitting on the balcony of April’s (Grammy’s granddaughter) and my apartment in Florida. April and I had decided to give acupuncture school a try and so we moved down there. We happened to live close to Grammy, so we were able to visit with her often. She had come over and spent the evening with us at the apartment. We all decided to sit on the balcony because the weather wasn’t quite as hot or humid as it typically was for Florida.
I remember my first impression of the “mirror” concept was a mixture of disbelief and hostility. “What about pedophiles, rapists, and murderers? How are they a reflection of me?” Because of that aspect, I completely shut off the concept of the mirror. I took her philosophy to an extreme example and used that as an excuse not to carefully consider her point. In philosophy, they call it “reduction ad absurdum” fallacy which translates to “reduction to absurdity.” I took her concept to an extreme version and because it didn’t fit that paradigm, I disregarded the “mirror” concept as a whole. Ironically, my hostile response to Grammy talking about the mirror shows there was validity to her philosophy. I was hostile towards the concept of other people being a reflection of myself because I didn’t want to acknowledge some of the less amiable parts of myself. I didn’t want to admit that those aspects I didn’t like about other people such as being judgmental, self-righteous, always right, attention seeking, and over dramatic were aspects within myself that I didn’t like.
Fast forward 8 years and A LOT of growing pains and the concept of the mirror resurfaced. This time, I didn’t meet it with hostility, but with an open-mind that there are aspects of the mirror concept that could be right.
I don’t think external life is ALWAYS a reflection of us. I don’t believe people such as pedophiles, rapists, and murderers are a reflection of me. I don’t think domestic or international terrorists or those who commit hate crimes are a reflection of me. I think having an emotional reaction to those types of people and situations is an appropriate and natural response because of the monstrosity of those situations. We need to have an emotional response to those situations to help with motivation to change those situations.
I think the “mirror” concept is valid when it comes to day to day interactions. An example is, I was called judgmental by a loved one when I was a teenager. I was offended when the person made the accusation against me. Another time, I was accused of being overly sensitive. Again, I took the accusation personally and vehemently rejected it, nearly bursting into tears at the thought. The fact was, I did identify subconsciously with those characteristics, but I didn’t like those tendencies about myself. I didn’t like that I judged people and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was a bad person. I didn’t like that I was sensitive and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was weak. By embracing those characteristics and exploring why they developed and where they came from, I would have had to be honest with myself. I was afraid of what I would find by exploring the inner depths of my psyche. I was worried I’d find a person I didn’t like.
Another example is I used to get over-the-top-annoyed by certain types of people. Those who were attention seeking/dramatic and those who were self-righteous always seemed to get on my last nerve. There is a difference between not enjoying the company of certain types of people and despising being around certain types of people. It’s okay to not want to hang out with everyone. It’s okay to have people you just don’t mesh with. But, to me, it’s when there is a high emotional response to hanging out with a person (that when you’re honest with yourself has done nothing wrong to deserve such an emotional response) that eludes to there being an internal issue within yourself going on that needs to be addressed. I was annoyed by the attention seekers because I identified with that desire to receive attention from others. Being around these people made me uncomfortable because it forced me to take a good look at myself and the things that I would do. I didn’t like that I enjoyed receiving attention and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I was weak and desperate for love. I looked down on those who were self-righteous because I knew the skeletons in their closets and felt they had NO right to view anyone as less than them. Again, I couldn’t handle being around them because there were times where I was holier-than-thou. There were times where I viewed myself a “good” because “I didn’t do . . . like so-and-so did . . .” or “I messed up with this, but at least I didn’t do that like so-and-so did so that makes me a better person.” I didn’t like that I was so high-and-mighty and I viewed it as a piece of me that proved I wasn’t a good person and that I was, in fact, arrogant.
By addressing and embracing these aspects of my personality, I noticed a shift in how I viewed others and myself. I no longer feel the need to judge or to be better than others. I enjoy rooting for people to reach their goals, to make their dreams happen, to find lasting love, and to become better versions of themselves that, in turn, make the world a better place. I no longer feel the need to be a know-it-all. I’m comfortable with being wrong and I acknowledge that what I know today may be viewed as obsolete tomorrow.
Another personal example is when I used to see posts on Facebook regarding intelligence. Any time I saw a post exclaiming someone was an idiot if they believed X, Y, and Z. I would get riled up and want to retaliate to prove my intelligence. I wouldn’t engage in online arguments, but the desire was there. I may or may not have even agreed with X, Y, and Z, but I still felt that overwhelming need to defend myself. Once I owned to the fact that I had insecurities about my intelligence and I addressed them, suddenly those sorts of posts no longer created an emotional response from me. I didn’t feel the need to prove my intelligence.
Being extremely defensive or extremely emotional about a situation can hint that there are issues underneath the surface that you need to address regarding the topic. Like the person who aggressively opposes homosexuality but is later caught having relations with a person of the same sex (or experimenting when they were younger). Like the person who has condemning comments to make about divorce but they have continuous affairs and/or are abusive towards their spouse.
As I stated before, I think the “mirror” concept can be valid, but it’s all about the level of the person’s emotional response that hints whether the topic needs to be address. If a Facebook post or a person’s comment causes rage or anxiety and it feels directed at you, then that may show there’s deeper things you need to personally address.
How can I fix the reflection? Here are some ways that I have worked on fixing my reflection. Before you start, I recommend you create a safe space for yourself where you can be as honest with yourself as you need to be.
First, acknowledge that the statement a person made or the post a person made bothered you. Then, here are different ideas of ways to go about dealing with it.
- The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson is an excellent book to read if you are open to those kinds of concepts. It has good techniques that you can utilize on yourself
- A friend of mine is in the area who is a Certified Emotion Code/Body Code practitioner. When I have gone to her, the results have been phenomenal. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like her contact information.
- Tapping/Emotional Freedom Technique is another excellent technique. There are free videos on Youtube about how to tap. This is a great technique for children because it’s easy to learn and implement. When I have panic attacks and don’t understand where there are coming from, this is a technique I’ll use and it helps me regain my center.
- Ho’oponopono by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. It’s a powerful technique that utilizes the following phrases. “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” I recommend reading up on it and seeing if this technique meshes with you.
- Meditate and/or pray on the statement or the post that bothered you
- Let whatever thoughts and feelings you have flow through you. You can say them out loud if you feel the need to
- Allow the conversation to transform from “They say I am . . .” to “I think I am . . .”
- Once you pinpoint these feelings and thought patterns, explore when they first came about. Was it when you were a child? Did you learn these thought patterns from someone else? Did someone say them to you?
- For example: let’s say “I think I am stupid” comes from a time someone called you stupid when you were a child, forgive the person who called you that and forgive yourself for taking that statement me. Imagine that statement leaving your body and being sent into a bright light that eviscerates it. Imagine a new statement taking its place such as “I think I am smart” or “I am smart” or “I love and accept my level of intelligence” or whatever combination feels right for you.
- Write or draw or paint or build or sing or dance or utilize any form of creative expression to identify what it was about the statement or post that bothered you. You could even do chores or workout instead and see if that leads to better results. This is a like a movement meditation.
When you finish your session, thank yourself for having the courage to dive into your subconscious. Thank yourself for addressing the issues and clearing them out. Thank the person who made the statement or posted whatever it was that bothered you. They helped you realize there was an issue within yourself that needed to be addressed. You don’t have to thank them in person, but you can send a prayer of gratitude their way.
These are by no means the only ways to fix your reflection. There are many, many, many different types of techniques out there that are helpful. These are just a few of the techniques that I have had the privilege to be exposed to and they have helped me.