Once, in the midst of struggling with how I was being seen and received by another, a practitioner said to me; “They are not a clear reflection for you.” Whew. That took an enormous load off to be given permission to not have to reference the wrong source. That truth allowed me to see that who I was, was separate from what another thought or reflected back to me. This has stuck with me ever since, and I find myself referring to it whenever I wind up in that struggle between me and another over who I am. And at times, more poignantly, who I am not.
In knowing ourselves, we tend to go back to the very first reflections we ever got regarding who others thought we were, or should be. In other words, our families, and other early teachers. To the extent that there was distortion in what was being reflected back to us, we will struggle with the truth of who we are because as children we usually do not recognize dysfunctional feedback as being off base And even if we do, we somehow agree to it one way or another. In order to stay in relationship. In order to stay safe. In order to stay valued. In order to keep from being kicked out. In order to be loved.
Worse yet, we tend to go through life winding up in the same reflecting pools, ensuring that we continue to see the same things about ourselves; even if they are not true. Even if it is harmful. Even if we have changed. This damaging and insidious feedback loop not only harms us, it robs the world of us.
I once received from a trusted teacher, the following practice. Put a mirror on your alter, or any other space that feels special to you. Gaze into your own reflection. What do you see? As a companion practice, you might also try saying some version of, “I see you for who you truly are,” every time you see your own reflection in a mirror.
A little terrifying at first, but absolutely necessary in the journey of creating a clear reflection.