“When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others, too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others…”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)
Struggles with relationships are no doubt familiar to all of us, as is our tendency to lay the blame on the other person when those relationships break down. However, there is a saying that is well worth bearing in mind: “Everyone is your mirror”.
What does that mean?
That everyone in your life is your mirror, reflecting aspects of yourself back to you, is one of the best-kept secrets of successful relationships.
When things go wrong with your relationships, ask yourself how many of the qualities that you dislike in the other person – such as being over critical, quick to anger or emotionally withdrawn – you recognise as often being applicable to yourself. By the same token, the qualities that you most admire in the other person will usually be qualities you share with them and aspire to.
Repetitively encountering the same problems, the same familiar issues, feelings and insecurities even when you really want to have a good relationship with someone can leave you feeling despondent and reluctant to keep trying. However, once you can acknowledge those aspects of your personality that you dislike, or perhaps feel ashamed of, and understand how they came to be that way, you will be in a much better position to manage them – maybe even discard some of them altogether – rather than be managed by them.
If you are constantly breaking up and entering new relationships, only to find the fundamentals of those relationships basically remain unchanged, this could be the right time to consider how these difficulties may reflect the unsatisfactory nature of your most important relationship of all – the relationship you have to yourself.
Self-acceptance – an opportunity for personal growth
The good news is that it if you are willing to really get to know yourself and treat yourself with the respect you deserve, you too will be able to experience those loving and rewarding relationships you previously thought were only possible for other people.
The process may not be easy, may even be painful at times but, with appropriate support and encouragement, what it will do is open up profound opportunities for personal growth.
As an experienced psychotherapist, I can help you to discover the ways in which your current relationship is your mirror and explore with you how to work towards much more fulfilling relationships – not just with other people, but with the most crucial person of all, yourself.
Contact me and let’s arrange an appointment.