Have you ever been in a situation where another person's behavior really set you off? Perhaps your co-worker took credit for one of your ideas, or your spouse talked over you and quickly dismissed your feelings, or maybe a good friend betrayed your confidence. You can’t contain your emotional reaction and feel justified in lashing out because of what someone else did.
Life appears to happen to us. It’s easy to feel like our quality of life is determined by things out of our control. But what if that's not true? What if the things that happen to us, and how we react to them, are simply a reflection of our own beliefs?
It’s true, the quality of your life is an inside job. You create your life one thought, one feeling, and one decision at a time—for better or for worse. Your beliefs serve as the framework for how the mind sees and translates the world. I like to call this framework your Life Mirror.
As Byron Katie has said: “The world is your perception of it. Inside and outside always match—they're reflections of each other. The world is a mirror image of your mind.”
Related Reading: "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..."
The Life Mirror Never Lies
What do you see when you look in your bathroom mirror first thing in the morning? The mirror never lies, does it? If you’re in your twenties, you don’t see the face of a seventy-year-old with wrinkles. If you’re a blonde, you don’t see a brunette. If you haven’t combed your hair yet, it doesn’t look like you just left the beauty salon. Well, your Life Mirror is the same. It never lies.
Your inner world is reflected in what is happening around you, and learning to observe your Life Mirror to see patterns as they surface can help you stay calmer, transform false beliefs, avoid poor decisions, and provide an accurate compass to change your life. Combined with the wisdom of your emotions, this unique awareness provides opportunities to improve our quality of life.
Unfortunately, most of us are quick to accept the erroneous idea that other people and circumstances force us to feel something (whether positive or negative), and what happens to us determines the quality of our life. It’s not what happens to us that creates the quality of the experience, it’s how we view the experience and how we respond. Our true power lies here.
When we start paying attention to what our life experiences are reflecting about our inner selves, something beautiful happens. We get better at connecting the dots and listening so that we can course-correct. We begin to realize that life is one big schoolroom. Our experiences become a grand adventure.
The Importance of Accepting What IS Instead of What We WHAT
Our pain, frustration, and angst are frequently caused by not accepting WHAT IS happening right now because we want something different. We want our kids to behave; we want to earn more money; we want more love and happiness. Accepting what is while also actively acting on our own behalf and striving toward our goals seem contradictory at first.
However, to become a better version of ourselves, it’s necessary to see what is in order to create something new.
Let me give you a few examples:
Years ago, I noticed that my coaching practice was filled almost entirely with risk-takers and adventure junkies. It seemed odd at first. Then I asked myself, “If my Life Mirror is reflecting this pattern for a good reason, what is it telling me?” So to explore further, I observed more closely my thoughts and feelings. By observing myself like a watch dog guarding a home, I noticed that I felt an elevated excitement with a tad of jealousy when my clients told stories of their adventures. After a couple of weeks, I realized what was mirroring back: I had relinquished my love of adventure. I had stopped skiing, scuba diving, and hiking, while also surrendering my desire to wind glide, kite surf, and skydive. Why? My business had snowballed with a schedule that no longer allowed time for adventure.
My Life Mirror was reflecting my yearning for adventure that I hadn't yet recognized consciously. I course-corrected and carved time in my schedule again for what brought me joy. Slam dunk!
Shortly after, my client base no longer reflected adventure seekers in my Life Mirror.
Another example is one where I observed vital Life Mirror intel within another person’s behavior. When my daughter was young, she had an uncanny knack for insightfulness accompanied by a stark honesty. One evening, during an argument, I tried to make her behavior the issue rather than admit I was wrong. She was quick to tell me, "Your feelings are not my problem."
She was right. I had been trying to make her responsible for my feelings instead of acknowledging her perspective. And her comment hurt my feelings. But why was I so offended?
Sure enough. My hurt had revealed worn-out behaviors that were decades old and ready to get pruned. I was an entrenched people pleaser, afraid to step on toes—she was not. The main reason I was triggered by her forthrightness was because I had been editing myself for decades. My daughter, with her fearless ability to see things as they were and speak candidly, mirrored my inability to do the same. My lack of assertiveness and unwillingness to be true to myself were driven by a need to be liked, to avoid conflict, to protect others from getting their feelings hurt, to over-give in order to appear kind and be liked. These had been ways for me to stay safe, but they had outgrown their purpose.
A giant shift happened inside of me that day. And that shift enabled me to empower myself and take a leap in changing myself and re-pattern outworn patterns.
Making Use of What Your Life Mirror Tells You
Insight and knowledge are helpful, but if not acted on, nothing changes. In the example of my daughter’s honesty, even though it stung, I recognized that my Life Mirror was telling me to:
- speak more honestly myself instead pressing the mute button.
- take care of myself and do what brought me joy instead of caretaking others.
- decide my priorities and set healthy boundaries for others.
- be more authentic in my relationships.
- live in alignment with what was important to me instead of letting others’ needs and requests override my own.
So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on upgrading these patterns—what I refer to as self-coaching and something I teach my clients how to do. As I flexed my emotional muscles, asked for what I wanted, carved time for myself, and voiced my opinions more each day, new behaviors started to take root. They became more natural as I practiced them. Years later, they are fully integrated into my way of being.
As my own advocate, this one insight transformed the quality of my life—such is the power of the Life Mirror.
For a complete road map to stop being a people pleaser and to hear my full story of how I transformed the pleaser habit, check out: "Advice from an Ex-People Pleaser: How to Stop People Pleasing."
New skills take practice—whether you're playing a new sport or musical instrument, writing, or self-coaching. Changing your perspective at will is a brand-new skill for most people. This mental agility of using our Life Mirror isn't something we can do instantly. Utilizing the intel from our life mirror takes practice; it doesn't come naturally since we're trained from birth to look to others for answers and approval.
So be gentle and patient with yourself. Change doesn't happen all at once, but rather in small adjustments done consistently. When we practice a new skill, we usually stumble and make mistakes, but if we persevere, the change will come. And one change affects everything else. The more we pay attention to our Life Mirrors, the better we get at seeing and envisioning a new reality.
Listening, opening, and growing is how we build a haven within ourselves and cultivate unconditionally loving families and communities. Try paying attention to its magic to give you an amazing compass and discover its power to transform your life.
For comprehensive and personalized support to transform your life using your Life Mirror, consider our One Year Makeover program. Or if you’re looking to increase your emotional intelligence, our online course is very popular. Check our online store today.