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Through The Looking Glass

One of the great truths of our relationships is that they mirror all that resides within us. How we behave within a relationship directly relates to how we relate to both ourselves and others. As such, whenever you’re experiencing conflict in a relationship, you’re experiencing inner conflict. One does not exist apart from the other.

Due to this behavioural connection, one can very nicely use relationships as a barometer for determining one’s emotional relationship with Self. For those of us who have embarked on a path of growth and development, the ability to know where you are at a glance is invaluable.

One of the ultimate benefits of recognizing that our relationships serve as mirrors with which to see ourselves is that we have a near-instant means of noting when we’re struggling inside. Many of us are oblivious to internal stresses and pretty much only see external pressures and conflict. By virtue of seeing external conflict as a manifestation of our inner unease, a fight with a loved one can act as an important flag that something within needs evaluation.

Recently, I began noticing that my relationships with others weren’t running quite as smoothly as I’d hoped. Old behaviours of withdrawing began showing themselves and it didn’t take long for me to find myself in a rut. Thankfully, I was able to remind myself that everything I was experiencing externally was a direct representation of stuff I needed to deal with within myself. As soon as I took full ownership of the stress I was encountering, a huge weight lifted. And, quite literally, things improved within minutes.

Many of us have been taught that things happen to us, largely outside our ability to control. This view, while convenient, allows for very little empowerment in one’s growth process. It’s important to take ownership of everything we experience, for that is where our true power comes into play. Moreover, as a close friend reminded me the other weekend, it’s not just a matter of taking ownership of the negative things in life; it’s up to us to take ownership of all the good stuff we experience, too.

When you take responsibility for creating a peak experience, or even just having a good day at the office, you empower yourself to create more of the same. It’s building a solid foundation upon which to build more goodness. So take ownership, both the bad AND the good. The balance will hold you in good stead and give you something positive to enjoy along with the negative that you wish to fix.

Personal growth can seem like going through the looking glass into a world of the unknown, but if you keep in mind that you’ve created it all through what you’ve learned through your cultural lessons and personal relationships, it becomes easier to manage. And just as we learn our behaviours, we can unlearn them given enough time, love and understanding.

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3 Comments
  1. You are a ******* crazy fool. If you are normal and minding your business and you find out your supposed friend is a wacko freak…from another planet, a pervert, a criminal and has multiple personalities and needs ‘real’ psych help…and she wont get out of your life…and you look at her…it ain’t no mirror into my own emotional self or soul…I’m just looking into a cesspool of her mind, will and emotions. So…don’t be thinking people (me) are buying the snake oil your are bleeding and then selling. Go to hell *****.

    (Expletives deleted. – Living Intentionally)

    • Alpha Wolf,

      I appreciate the stress you would experience in such a scenario, but the only thing I’m offering — for free — is an opportunity for people to see their life from the perspective that they have full control. In your scenario, it would appear that you’re trying to push away the relationship. Generally speaking, pushing against something only tends to bring more struggle, e.g., war on drugs and war against racism.

      Whenever you struggle against something, you invariably invest energy. That investment, from a physics point of view, creates a reaction. Relationships aren’t linear such that pushing away will result in both parties simply moving in opposite directions. It’s more complex than that.

      We’re like planetary bodies interacting with other planetary bodies. If you know anything about gravitational interactions, you’ll recognize that when two free-moving bodies interact gravitationally, both bodies end up perturbed. The greater the gravity of the body, the more perturbation it will engender on the interacting partner.

      Relationships are a lot like that. Instead of our physical mass, the “gravity” of our relationship encounters can be measured by the amount of energy we expend to them. The more energy we expend in our interaction, the greater the effect. Whether you’re struggling against the interaction or investing in it, the result is generally similar.

      So, that’s the flip side of the equation. It’s absolutely fair to want nothing to do with somebody who ended up not being the person you thought he/she was. My opinion is that the easiest way to get rid of such a person is to simply let the person go instead of struggling against him/her. ALL relationships require maintenance, and that includes struggle. In her case, even the struggle you offer is giving her some sort of recognition from which she’s benefiting.

      My advice would be to fully accept her for who she is and then move on. If you don’t engage her in any way whatsoever, she’ll lose the hooks that keep bringing her back into your life.

      Best of luck with a stressful situation.

      trane

      • Alpha Wolf’s comment brings to light an interesting misinterpretation of the whole mirror metaphor. In Alpha Wolf’s case, he seemed to take it as literally meaning that a relationship with a freak and pervert would indicate that he, too, is a freak and pervert. This is not the idea behind the looking glass.

        In this particular case, the “freak” and “pervert” aspects of the relationship are merely details. Up close and personal, they seem to be the whole point, but stepping back, it would be of interest for Alpha Wolf to examine his view on relationships at their most elemental level: Does Alpha Wolf expect people to be who they present themselves to be or does Alpha Wolf have a pattern of disappointments in relationships where people mislead, lie or otherwise end up deceiving him?

        It’s been my experience that if we go into relationships reluctantly, possibly expecting the worst, we will draw to us relationships that affirm those expectations and beliefs. The details that play out in that affirmation are not important (e.g., freak and pervert). What is important is that the expectation of what a relationship will ultimately offer is fulfilled.

        The way to break the chain, ultimately, is to expect to have better relationships. And that, folks, can be a real challenge.

        trane

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