We all have that one coworker, that boss, that sibling, that parent, that partner, that acquaintance ... who works our fucking nerves. They act a certain way we just can’t stand. They do something that really grinds our gears. They’ve got a habit that drives. Us. Mad.
Congratulations! Those people are your greatest gifts. They are your mirrors. Your relationships with other human being show you the inner workings of your own life. Whether romantic, familial, platonic, or professional — ALL of your relationships with other human beings serve to reflect you back to yourself.
Understanding this concept is crucial to achieving your highest potential. Because 9/10 times, your complaint isn’t about someone else. It’s about you!
Got an inconsistent friend who doesn’t show up for you when you need them? Ask yourself what you’re not doing consistently, and how you aren’t showing up yourself. Is your parent or sibling not taking care of themselves the way they know they should? Ask yourself how you aren’t taking care of yourself in the ways you know you should be. Does your boss not communicate transparently? Ask yourself the ways you aren’t being honest, open, and communicative with the people in your life.
If you fail to recognize your relationships as mirrors, you lose a powerful opportunity to transform yourself for the better. In Buddhism, relationships are understood as causes you made in the infinite past. Your relationships aren’t random. (Don’t you get it by now?) There is no such thing as coincidence. You chose every single person in your life right now. And with good reason!! You knew that every single one of your complex, beautiful, messy human relationships would serve as a catalyst for the emergence of your highest self!
(👊🏾 You did that.)
Your relationships with people are the stages upon which you define and refine your character. Don’t miss a chance to play a leading role. You can either spend your time blaming others for their faults and failures, or you can use your dissatisfaction as information. As fuel.
If you’re the journaling type, I encourage you to do a meditation on the the last complaint or grievance you had about someone else. (That was easy!) Ask yourself: What can I learn from this person about myself? How are they showing me to me? Am I waiting for them to change, or am I avoiding changing myself?
As always, this exercise will require courage. It is terrifying work to be honest about the ways YOU are keeping yourself in spiritual/emotional/mental bondage. It is difficult work to look at your life and realize you’re actually just looking at you. But if you’re willing to do it, you’re sure to make profound discoveries. Look at your relationships as the clear mirrors they are. Change your perspective.
See what happens.