Dear Awesome Woman,
Is there someone whom you admire?
Or even if you just admire certain traits in that person, what are they?
You’re looking in the mirror. Traits that attract us in others are because we have them in us as well. It’s the ‘mirror theory.’
An oldie, but goodie.
The holy Jewish sage, the Baal Shem Tov spoke about this ‘mirror’ concept in the 1700’s in regards to what it means when a person is triggered negatively by someone else. If we are very emotional about a trait that we see in someone then it may be because we have that trait in ourselves. He wasn’t speaking of everything negative that we see because we do have the G-d given capacity to discern and notice what feels incongruent or , as I like to call it, ‘the funky’ in someone. We are human and do have weaknesses such as fear and jealousy. But if you get triggered or repelled – a strong emotional reaction – it could be because you are projecting a disowned trait of yours outside of you.
In modern times, Byron Katie is a woman who has developed a way of looking at these negative triggered traits and judgements in her process called The Work. She even calls the worksheets, “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheets’ and these help a person accept that what they are judging others for, they may have themselves. G-d does these projections as a way for you to see your ‘stuff’ and then accept it, ‘play’ with it and transform it to be released or to be used for good.
*** SUPER IMPORTANT****This does not mean to ignore your body sensations when you’re in the room with a narcissist or an angry individual. Nope. Those sensations are giving you information. They may be telling you to go away from the person and not interact with them and this is very helpful info.
But if your mind is super repelled by a person then it may be that what you are seeing is a trait that you have. Again, this is different than using our body wisdom and our means of discernment. ***Discerning that this person has funky energy because of their negative trait and noticing your body’s reaction to it keeps you safe and able to take action with proper boundaries and respect for yourself. But if your mind is in a funk afterward with lots of judgement instead of wise discernment, then check and see where that trait may be showing up in you as well.
For example, a narcissist may have the ‘mind tape’ playing of the mantra ‘it’s never enough’ – referring to a sense of entitlement. If you are terribly triggered by them, then perhaps you are playing the mind tape – ‘it’s never enough’ and that could be in how much you expect yourself to ‘people please’ the narcissist instead of just feeling comfortable with your boundaries of saying ‘no, that’s enough.’ Or perhaps you have an inner narcissist trait (I believe that all humans do and it’s called our ego self) that has the mantra ‘it’s never enough’ in your own life?
The ‘mirror’ theory also works to the opposite as well – being emotionally attracted to a trait in another means that you own that positive trait. When you see a positive trait in someone and it lights you up – like if you have a ‘hero’ figure in mind – then you share their ‘hero’ traits.
Do you admire your neighbor who shows courage in taking action in the world? Then look closely at yourself – you have the ‘courage’ trait in you as well. You might not have recognized it or owned up to it yet, but it’s there.
Is there a heroine figure that you feel drawn to? Then see where you share the same appealing traits.
I invite you to take a few moments to jot down people in your life, even cartoon characters and notice what trait it is that is attracting you to them. Then notice in what situations you have used that trait in your own life and celebrate that.
You are that hero.