Sometimes I feel called to write long, meaty, detailed articles, but today, I want this article to be a gentle reminder. I want to give you this opportunity to stop amid the chaos, friction and endless motion in your life and take a deep breath in.
As you breathe in, let your thoughts drift to all the people in your life right now, no matter how many, or how few. It doesn’t matter.
As you breathe out, travel into your feelings as you reflect on each person.
Now tell me, what do you experience? Perhaps you feel comfortable feelings such as love, safety, admiration, respect or appreciation. On the other hand, you may experience hatred, jealousy, pain, contempt, resentment, anger, shame and frustration. While we tend to judge one set of emotions as good and the other spectrum as bad, I want you to just sit with every emotion that arises and embrace all. Allow them to exist. Let your judgments rise and fall. Don’t worry, you are allowed to judge yourself and others here … we aren’t in bible school! The reality that I have discovered over and over again is that judgment is actually necessary for our growth as spiritual beings.
So what is the one vital thing I want you to remember about the people in your life right now? I want you to remember this: that every person you meet is your mirror. Every single person you meet or fall into alignment with reflects a vital element of yourself which you have either accepted or rejected.
The people in our lives are our greatest teachers. The way we choose to respond and react to them is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves.
So think about how you perceive the people in your life at this very moment. Whatever you love and hate about another is a mirror of your own qualities. If I hate you for being narrow-minded, I hate myself for being narrow-minded towards your narrow-mindedness. If I respect you for giving me freedom, I respect myself for giving me freedom. If I have a grudge towards you for treating me badly, I have a grudge towards myself for treating me badly and not allowing forgiveness to reign.
Can you see that every outward action has a corresponding inward reaction … and vice versa?
Every single person in our lives is a potential teacher.
Here are some lessons you can learn from the negative emotions that others stir up in you. Keep in mind that each of these emotions will provide different lessons for different people … so these are just some examples from my own life:
- Anger = I need to go from a myopic view to a big-picture view.
- Grief = I need to learn to make peace with the way life is and reconnect with my whole center.
- Fear = I need to accept that some things are out of my control.
- Hatred = I need to show more love and forgiveness towards myself so I can show it to others.
- Shame = I need to explore my Shadow Self and what I have repressed.
- Blame = I need to take self-responsibility.
- Jealousy = I need to honor where I am in life.
- Guilt = I need to introspect and see where I lost touch with truth.
- Irritability = I need to develop more empathy for other’s needs while respecting my own.
Also keep in mind that any single emotion, such as anger, can provide different lessons according to the context of the day. For example, on one day my anger towards my friend could mean that I need to learn to open my mind. However, on another day my anger towards my friend could mean that I’m still holding onto a grudge and need to let go.
At the end of the day, our soulful expansion heavily depends on how we choose to perceive, treat and react to the people in our lives.
Learning to move from a victim of circumstance to a student of life is a deeply empowering choice to make.
Tell me, how do you handle the people in your life? Do you have any tips to share that could help others?