“The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs and simultaneously we are mirrors, reflecting their beliefs. So, relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth…. If we look honestly at our relationships , we can see so much about how we have created them.” – Shakti Gawain
We all have certain ways of being with others. Sometimes we know what we are doing and other times, our actions and behaviours are completely unconscious. If we are aware of our “issues”, we usually don’t like to acknowledge them to avoid shining light on our shame. Well, I’m gonna go against the traditional rules of poker, and show you my hand.
I have had certain “habits” in my friendships and relationships. I have put others needs ahead of my own. I have sacrificed myself for another’s wellbeing. I have assumed to know what is best for them and what they are thinking, needing or expecting, and took action to make them happy, in an effort to avoid putting them out. I have tried to rescue friends and lovers from their pain, all the while, waiting for them to value me in return. I have waited for them to see me.
Most of these habits were adopted during childhood. Though some I came in with as part of my own life lessons. Over the years, these habits became so ingrained in my existence that they turned into patterns, which followed me wherever I would go. I didn’t know HOW TO BE without them.
Thankfully, but through the path of most resistance, I have become aware of these patterns. And after doing a lot of inner work to build my self worth and learn to love, value and accept myself, these issues have become mainly healed and mostly dormant.
But every now and then and usually when in the midst of a huge transformation, these patterns would be triggered once again. I would become angry, resentful, and inwardly blame the other person for taking advantage of me, disrespecting me, or having all these great expectations on me. At times, I have ended a friendship, in hopes of ending the problem.
How comforting it was for the ego to think it must be them, and obviously, not me.
Though frustratingly, over the years I have noticed that these problems didn’t go away. They would just manifest in the form of a new friend, and there I would be, complaining all over again for what they did or didn’t do. Each time, triggered in a new way by a different person.
And that’s when I realized the (shudder) truth. Lord Almighty, it wasn’t them, it was actually me. This was my lesson. These triggers were for my growth, not theirs. And I was the one who had to change.
You see, perception is a funny thing. We see what we want to see. We perceive the world through our own make-up of wounds and belief systems, and until we are aware of our shadow, we’ll continue to look at the world through a foggy lens. Our friends and partners are merely reflecting back exactly what it is that we need to see in ourselves in order to grow. Whether we want to or are ready too is another story.
I truly believe one of the great purposes of intimate relationships is to learn the big lessons. It’s where we are forced to be vulnerable. Where we can transform that which is limiting us and become the greatest expression we always hoped to be.
No different than romantic relationships, close friendships require the same trust, safety and intimacy. Most times, we fear letting in a friend as much as we do a lover. Depending on where our wounds are, they both have the potential to destroy our heart… if we’ll let them.
That is why casual friendships are a safe haven for most. We don’t get close enough to really see each other so our perception always remains shiny and new. Quite possibly the most dangerous; We stay Perfect.
These casual friendships are in some ways like a first date, when only the best traits come out; “The Hero,” “The Romantic Lover,” “The Magician,” “The Jester,” “The Seeker,” “The Warrior” etc. Calculatingly or unconsciously, we choose to leave the shameful shadow parts of ourselves, aka our baggage, at home, or tucked inside our massive purse.
These are the archetypes of; “The Orphan,” “The Victim,” “The Addict,” “The Prostitute,” “The Wounded Child,” “The Neglector,” “The Caregiver,” “The Rescuer,” “The Perpetrator” etc.
No matter which ones may resonate with you, we each have at least one of these magnificent traits. Just like the elephant in the room, they are usually following right behind us, waiting for that moment to be triggered so they can make a mess of the party and come out to play.
Therefore, as a safety, we may choose these casual friends or lovers where things stay surfacey and we don’t get close enough to see all the messy bits, but as a result, there are rarely lessons learned. Those shadow aspects stay hidden. And like their name, continue to follow us wherever we go.
We can also choose to never partake in intimacy, but then we are limiting ourselves the opportunity to be authentic. As scary as it may be, being alone to avoid being wounded, is even worse. We are denying ourselves a chance to love and be loved in return.
We need to have the courage to speak our truth about what works and what doesn’t and not betray ourselves in an effort to please another. We need to love ourselves enough to at times say no. We need to act with kindness and compassion when dealing with another’s heart. We need to realize there is no guilt or shame in letting go of guilt and shame. We must dismantle the walls around our hearts that serve as armored protection. And in order to really love, we need to feel safe to let others in and share the good with the bad.
If we can understand why we got triggered and why we react the way we do, then we will see that it is our perception that has created our reality. All of our friendships and relationships serve as mirrors for us to look deeper into ourselves. No matter how scary it can be, it is always worth it. The positives far out weigh the negatives. After all, once we make peace with our shadow, it magically becomes part of our light. And then, we are able to see ourselves and others clearly; without baggage.
How grateful I am for all the amazing people in my life, past and present, who have helped me to grow. I’d like to hope that I’ve also been an excellent yet possibly frustrating trigger for them to discover their lessons as well.
Above all, I am thankful for my “Orphan” self. Amongst her perceived faults and fears of abandonment, I’m learning the source and strength of my own Power and how to stand in it with grace. And that’s a gift.
Until next time — Look at yourself and another with eyes of compassion. They may not be aware of how they are triggering your issues, as it’s likely not about them at all. Most importantly, forgive yourself for all that you are and all that you are not. There were no mistakes in your divine design. Accept the brilliance that is you, your journey, and this beautiful life.
“The experience of bliss will give you an insight into the very phenomenon of beauty. Not only does it make you beautiful, it suddenly transforms the whole world. The whole world becomes beautiful because the world reflects you, it is a mirror.” – Osho
In Love & Light,