I have been using “mirrors” Â to identify my patterns and it is helping me get better at owning my “stuff”—the subconscious stories and wounds that are playing on repeat. The stuff waiting toÂ be healed or to be attended to and the unmet needs that are determining my path, choices and actions.
I have found it empowering to be able to reflect on situations and see how I contributed to them so that I can take ownership in ensuring that I do not chooseÂ on some level toÂ go to that place again. These reflections have been beneficial, healing and life-changing.
But, nothing is ever black and white,Â and whenever other people are involved there is always our stuff going on and their stuff going on at the same time. We bring 50 percent of the dramaÂ to the table and while there are some common relationship scenarios and patterns repeating themselves, quite likely needing to be looked at, there might be things going on that are just not ours to own.
It can be dangerous and even disempowering to assume too much responsibility,Â and when we feel that we have really done the work to stop a pattern from repeating and then when it seems to come around again—it is beyond disheartening. It is important to consider that there may be something else going on here.
I have personally found that I am being tested when an old story or situation reappears in my life—as if to check if I have really learned something and to see if I am going to entertain it again. I have been able to make a choice here: whether to say yes or to say no. It has been a great opportunity to make a powerful declaration on what I am going to choose for my life. It has been in these times when I have said no to a re-run that I have then seen a sudden change in what comes next. The universe is listening.
On other occasions when the past seems to reappear, it is not necessarily a mirror momentÂ or a test, but actually just life unfolding as it does and, again, our chance to decide whether we go back into something that has already been resolved or go forward into a new free future that looks different to the past.
We can look inwardÂ to discern when something is “on us” and when it is on someone else, and when weÂ should stay out of it completely.
One tool that I have found has been helpful for me to discern this is a “f*ck you letter.”
If I am angry at someone and I want to know if it is my stuff or theirs—to see if I need to look at my own unresolved anger and unmet needs and discern whether this anger or sadness is really at someone from the past or in fact myself—or whether I would be fair and wise to call them out on what has happened in the present situation and in this real time situation—this is what I do.Â
I write a letter to this personÂ (that I will never send), with every sentence starting withÂ “f*ck you.”Â Actually, I often first do a bit of release raging/crying, if that’s how I feel, into a pillow or outside in nature, to really get out the uncensored truth of how I feel and might say this out loud and then write the letter.
F*ck you (their name) for underestimating me.
F*ck you (their name) for not choosing me.
F*ck you (their name) for not seeing my treasure.
F*ck you (their name) for cheating on me.
F*ck you (their name) for being a coward and not being honest with me.
Once I am done I rewrite it, changing the you to me.
F*ck me for underestimating me.
F*ck me for not choosing me.
F*ck me for not seeing my treasure.
F*ck me for cheating on me.
F*ck me for being a coward and not being honest with me.
This is where the clarity generally comes. Some of the reasons are just: “Bam, that’s me!” Some of them are both, but probably come from our projection if we are also like this with ourselves! And some of them are just the other person and are things that we can hopefully, non-violently but firmly, raise with that person to resolve in the present moment so that they don’t create blocks in the relationship and lay down our boundary—if we don’t want to leave them altogether.
I think we know, deep down, when it’s us. We just need the courage to look at and listen—and then take action on it.
Mirrors are so useful.
Mirrors areÂ notÂ an excuse for not holding people accountable. They are not about not calling people out on their bullsh*t, or about spiritually bypassing and being all, “I should not judge/I should forgive/I should be kind always,” and so letting ourselves getting walked over or practising “idiot compassion.” This isn’t authentic and it isn’t helpful. And it often enables codependent relationships.
They areÂ about looking in and seeing what is ours to own, and what is ours to say, “not my sh*t,” and move on.
Sometimes what we seem to have attractedÂ has nothing to do with us. Sometimes, sh*t happens. Not everything happens for a neat and symbolic reason.Â The phrase, “everything happens for a reason” is actually just more spiritual bypassing that only helps to delay, misguide or even hurt people whoÂ have to endure horrendous atrocities or traumas. Sometimes, things just don’t work out. Sometimes, we will never know. Sometimes, we need to cry and feel every emotion so that they can be honoured, listened to, grieved and then released—instead of trapped inside as cancer waiting to happen. Sometimes, we need to laugh, or go out and dance.
But, always, what we can be sure of, is that we end up with ourselves andÂ we can create and write our own stories from the hands that we are dealt—even if that means that there are now severe limitations on them or we start from being surrounded in wreckage and fire.
Let’s take responsibility for ourselves but not take on more responsibility than we are due as, let’s face it, accepting our own is enough of a challenge.
Author: Louisa Lamorna Phillips
Image: Flickr/Stephanie Overton
Editor:Â Travis May