We all have them in our lives. Those people that get under our skin; the thorn in our side, and those that can make our eyes roll and our blood boil with their mere presence, text, or newsfeed post.
Every time I’m confronted with feelings of aversion, annoyance, frustration, judgement and just plain dislike, I’m reminded of the “mirror theory.” According to the theory, the very traits in others that bother us are the same traits within us, with which we haven’t come to terms. Think of them as deeply-buried, unconscious bs, or wounds from the past. This seems to explain why one person may annoy us, but that same person doesn’t bring up a negative response in others. They are triggering within us something familiar, something to which we have a sensitive response and those buttons are easily pushed time and time again.
We get stuck in the aversion / defense / attack cycle with the same types of people. Maybe this means something.
What’s a yogi to do? The zen thing calls for seeing yourself just as you have judged the person ( or “image”) representing your grievance. Look into a mirror and say to yourself the same exact things you called your annoying person. Recognize those qualities in yourself even if you can’t really see them right now and directly follow that exercise by forgiving yourself. Forgive yourself for being so judgmental and forgive and thank the image that brought these feelings within you to the surface.
Condemning others for behaviors of which we don’t approve is easy and common practice. Pausing and redirecting your thought process is challenging, but extremely healing and rewarding. So the next time you’re triggered – no matter how big or small – try the mirror exercise and let us know what happens.