Best-Selling Self-Realization Author
Our relationships with others are mirrors. And looking in those mirrors and accepting what they show us can help us in our journey to self-discovery.
To explain what I mean, I’ll give a personal example. As I write this I’m sitting in my little house on a mountain in Oregon. It’s fall and the colors are absolutely striking.
When I bring my attention to what’s outside my window, I see the forms, the colors, and the light. As I’m attentive to my relationship with what I see, I can feel things in myself that ordinarily I’m not present to at all. I see the leaves that are losing their color and dropping to the ground. Maybe a breeze picks them up and makes them race across the lawn. I see delicate tree branches stripped of their leaves.
Each of these impressions gives rise to feelings that would otherwise be unavailable to me. My relationship with the color, the form, the movement, awakens in me similar qualities I didn’t know lived in my consciousness until I became present to a relationship outside of me that reveals these things to me about myself.
The timelessness of a night sky draws me to look up, and through that relationship I experience what is timeless in myself or I couldn’t be drawn to that beauty in the first place. Moments like this give us the most profound sense of ourselves. In truth, that’s why we seek these things. We are revealed to ourselves by our relationships.
We’re drawn to people for the same reason. They introduce us to qualities in ourselves that are not yet fully conscious to us.
I’m drawn to a particular person because when I’m around him or her, I meet parts of myself I like. Maybe a bubbliness, or a strength. I experience a force that ordinarily I don’t have access to, but now I see it exists in me because when I’m around you, I feel that same character in me. There is an unmistakable stirring in my soul and a realization of that quality as being something I’ve been looking for.
We see an example of this in the popular movie Jerry Maguire. At the marvelous endpoint the hero says to the woman he loves, “You complete me. Being around you has helped me discover in myself what I’ve been looking for my whole life.”
That’s a wonderful, romantic expression, but I must add a note of caution. We must recognize the other side of the equation as well, or it’s not only meaningless, it’s actually harmful.
If I look to another human being for only those qualities that awaken me to similar gentle, loving qualities in myself, then, I begin to see that other person as necessary for me to experience those qualities. Out of that, a terrible dependency is born – a demand that the other person must be a certain way so that I might see through them what I like in myself. But what about when they show me things I don’t like?
The exact same principle of the mirror applies when I’m around someone or something that disturbs me and causes me to feel anger, fear, anxiety, or even hatred. Those moments where we blame the other for what we’re feeling must be recognized as being under the exact same law as those relationships that make us feel good about ourselves. In both cases the relationship reveals a character that’s already within us, and that must be revealed if we are to ever be free of it by growing beyond it. This is how we grow as individuals, and how our relationships with others grow stronger.
Our relationships are intended to reveal to us what we don’t yet know about ourselves, both the qualities we like, and the qualities we don’t like (which hide themselves by blaming others for what we feel when we’re around them).
Learn to use others as the mirrors they’re meant to be. Then, whatever they reveal will help both you, and your relationships, reach true fulfillment.
About Guy Finley
For over 40 years Guy Finley has helped individuals around the world find inner freedom and a deeper, more satisfying way to live. His in-depth and down-to-earth teachings cut straight to the heart of today’s most important personal and social issues –stress, fear, relationships, addiction, meditation, and peace. His work is widely endorsed by doctors, business professionals, celebrities, and spiritual leaders of all denominations.
Guy is the author of 45 books and video/audio programs including his international bestseller “The Secret of Letting Go” which has been translated into 30 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.
He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit Center for Spiritual Discovery located in Southern Oregon, with over 40,000 online newsletter subscribers.
Through Life of Learning, Guy has presented over 5,000 unique self-realization seminars to thousands of grateful students throughout North America and Europe over the past 30 years and has been a guest on over 700 television and radio shows, including national appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and NPR. Guy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley, California. He is a regular expert contributor to Beliefnet, Insight Timer, Simple Habit, and many other popular spiritual sites.
Finley holds regular classes at Life of Learning including two free talks each week that are live-streamed www.guyfinley.org/online
. These classes are open to all. For more information about Guy Finley and Life of Learning Foundation visit:
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