“A loving person lives in a loving world.
A hostile person lives in a hostile world.
Everyone you meet is your mirror.”
– Ken Keyes Jr.
Stop for a moment and see if you’re willing to accept this idea:
anything you dislike about someone else may be a part of yourself that you haven’t accepted yet.
Said another way:
you may see in others what you have inside yourself.
Said another way:
the world is a mirror, and everyone and everything around you is simply reflecting back to you your own inner thoughts and feelings.
Many people find this concept challenging, maybe even offensive. “That’s impossible. I’ve never been as mean/stingy/rude as So-and-So.” It’s easier, after all, to label other people one way or another, rather than to accept that everyone has every human trait. We simply express these traits in our own ways, and in our own time. And when we fail to acknowledge our own capacity for meanness, stinginess, rudeness, or any other trait, we give up our ability to fully love and accept ourselves – and others.
Here’s a mini-experiment
Think about someone you dislike. Who “pushes your buttons” sometimes? What is it exactly about that person that irks you? What specific trait are they expressing which you don’t like?
Once you’ve identified this trait (mean/stingy/rude/loud/flaky, and so on), challenge yourself with this question: “Where in my life have I expressed this trait, too?” Think past and present. You may not able able to think of an example right away. Keep searching. Come up with at least 10 examples from your life where you have demonstrated this trait. The more examples you can come up with, the easier it is to accept that person, without the need to un-lovingly put them down in a pit – or unwisely put yourself up on a pedestal. Everyone is worthy of love.
Remember that the mirror world concept works the other way, too. If you admire someone for being beautiful/wealthy/smart/kind, etc., you may be too humble to acknowledge that you also express beauty/wealth/intelligence/kindness, etc. in your own life. We can be thankful, then, for the people and things which we judge either negatively or positively, because they are simply our teachers. Opportunities for us to notice where we are judging ourselves, and where we can learn to love ourselves more fully.