by Valery Satterwhite
"Each relationship you have with another person reflects the relationship you have with yourself." ~ Alice Deville.
You have a lot of personal and professional relationships in your life. Some relationships are loving, satisfying, uplifting, supportive and enrich your life experience. You love spending time with these people. They motivate and inspire you. Other relationships are tense, adversarial, problematic, strained, and exhausting. You don't like, or avoid, spending time with the people who drain the life energy right out of you.. The funny thing is that all of your relationships, good and bad, are a reflection of you!
How can that be?
It's very simple, really. You love the good relationships that you have because these people reflect what you like about yourself. They're kind, giving, nice, loyal, fun to be with, and all of the other attributes that you enjoy when you're involved in a good relationship. You dislike the people you have difficulty with because they reflect the parts of you that you don't like. In these people you see something in them, however tiny or large, that you don't like about yourself. If they're needy, they remind you of the times when you have been needy. If they're rude, they're a reminder of the pain you caused others by your own rudeness. If they're annoying they bring out the annoyer in you. If they are liars, they remind you of the time you lied, how that felt and the damage that lie may have caused you or others.
Pay particular attention to the people who bother you, get under your skin, for no apparent reason. These people reflect something within you that you have been unwilling to see.
I'll give you an example.
Several years ago I had a business associate, Naomi, who irritated the heck out of me. Naomi was a nice enough person, never hurt me, but every time I saw her my skin crawled. If she said, "Hi. How are you?" I wanted to run in the other direction. Any time she called with a business related question or invitation I couldn't get off the phone fast enough. Naomi frequently invited me to networking events and I always found some excuse to decline. For some unexplained reason I just didn't want to be around this woman.
Yes, I Found Excuses And Reasons (F.E.A.R.) not to like her. To me, Naomi was a pushy, needy, wishy-washy person who just wanted to cling onto me to advance her career. What I didn't realize at the time was that I had been a pushy, needy, wishy-washy person who clung onto other people to advance my early career. I'd grown up a lot since then and was no longer that person, yet I definitely once was that girl. And now Naomi was reflecting that behavior back to me. And it bothered me to even think of her. I did not want to be reminded that I, too, was once at that very same place in my personal journey of self-awareness and development.
You love what is reflected back to you that you love within you. You dislike what is reflected back to you that you dislike within you. You are neutral to what is presented to you that is not a reflection of you.
Examine your relationships with the people in your life. Identify the attributes you love and like in the people you have a good relationship with. You hold these attributes too. Acknowledge and own them. Love that part of you. Identify the attributes you don't like in the people you have a bad, or troubled, relationship with. You hold these attributes too. Acknowledge and own them. Have compassion and forgiveness for that part of yourself and of the other person for each of you are only doing the best you can given the light you have to see. Granted, some people have fewer batteries in their flashlight than others! Yet they are still doing the best they can. No one deliberately decides to exhibit unwanted behavior. Learn the lesson to add a few more volts to that flashlight of yours. Every relationship, good and bad, brings gifts in the lessons and the light they offer to you. Cherish the gift. It will empower you as you continue to move forward in the direction of living your rich delicious life.
"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson