The World’s a Mirror

Mind & Spirit : NST Life & Times 5/4/2010

By Chim Li Yen

Our relationships with others reflect how we see ourselves
The good you find in others is in you too.
The faults you find in others are your faults as well.
The possibilities you see in others are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror showing you the person you are.
 — Anonymous

OUR lives are nothing but a web of relationships with one another.

Love them or loathe them, relationships are an inevitable aspect of life. Our relationships are mirrors of ourselves. This statement can be very difficult to stomach especially if one has a stormy relationship with a parent or is going through a messy divorce.

We attract relationships that reflect our beliefs and qualities which we are sometimes unaware or even unwilling to accept. This applies to all relationships, be it a friend, lover, spouse, a child, boss, colleague, an employee or even the barista who makes your coffee every morning.

Eminent Californian author and therapist Sondra Ray claims that every major relationship we have is a reflection of the one we had with either one of our parents. She also mentions that we will never be free to create exactly what we want in our relationships until we clean that first one up.

Stop and ponder for a moment the state of your current relationships. Do they have a similar pattern to that of your parents or that of you and your parent? There is usually an uncanny resemblance if we look close enough. It is time to wake up and heal the unconscious patterns running through your life by creating the life you want.

The empowerments key is to focus on the most wonderful relationship you can have, the relationship with yourself. First, you need to love yourself and to accept yourself for who you are — regardless of physical appearance, bad habits, past experiences and all. You need to be 100 per cent authentic with yourself and have the courage to face your darkest shadows. It takes awareness and discipline to step out of the beliefs and concepts we have spent so many years investing in. Then the relationships you have with others will transform.

Once you take responsibility for your own life, you understand that you are also responsible for your own happiness. The illusion that other people have an impact on your emotional state fades away. The tendency to blame others for your problems reduces and you tend to look within for peace and contentment. Imagine how much less wars and conflicts there will be if every one of us embraces this possibility.

According to Marshall Rosenberg, creator of Nonviolent Communication, what others say and do may be the stimulus but never the cause of our feelings. Our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say and do, as well as our particular needs and expectations in that moment. We attract relationships that reflect our beliefs and qualities  

The next time you are upset with someone, focus your attention to your own feelings and needs at that moment. For example, in response to “You are the most insensitive person I have ever met”, you can perceive and react in many ways. You can hurl the insult back at that person, accept what he said and think “Yes, I am rather insensitive” or ignore the comment and seethe inside. Another option is to recognise the anger or sadness present and acknowledge your needs which can be respect, acceptance or even understanding. When your feelings and needs are acknowledged, understanding arises and a subtle peace will envelop your entire being. Try it and experience it for yourself!

Relationships illuminate parts of your personality that are unhealed — the parts that control others, please others, judge others and exploit them. Changing the relationship without coming to terms with parts of the personality that created the relationship is like changing props on a stage. It is temporary, the scenery changes but the play continues.

Relationships are our gifts. What better way is there for us to come to terms with the shadowy aspects of ourselves and integrate them into our awareness? By making peace with our mirrors who are the people around us, we make peace within ourselves and move towards self-mastery.

** The writer is co-founder of The Violet Flame Holistic Shop and Therapy Centre, Bangsar. She can be reached at or browse for further information.

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