Everyone you meet is a reflection of yourself in some way. Every person you love or hate has some part of them that exists with us. Your challenge is to find that missing piece. Are you up to the challenge?
If you accept this challenge, it will help you grow as a person. Learning to recognize the things about the other person who is also something that exists within us and opens the door to empathy, perspective, and wisdom.
Everyone You Meet is Traumatized
One thing we often have in common is some level of emotional and physical trauma. Some people conceal it better than others. How you handle it determines the trajectory of your thinking and attitude. We have the tools to make the most out of each meeting. If we stay present, pay attention to the other person and empathize.
Everyone around you carries some emotional damage. You carry some damage too. Do you recognize this bond we have with all living creatures? The problem is, pain causes us to react in irrational and strange ways. We don’t want to see it.
“Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.” — Robert Anton Wilson
Stop for a moment. Step back a moment and think about how much emotional and physical trauma you have experienced. If you are honest, you will recognize the wounds you carry. Healing still leaves scars. You may not realize how the scars affect the way you think. Scars can create judgements.
Since everyone you meet is a reflection of yourself, it means we share the hardships of everyone. But, it also means we can reflect the joy and beauty of everyone. The task is learning to see both pieces. Can you do it?
We need to return to our natural state of innocence. The trick is learning how to return to a place of peace after suffering a traumatic event. We can do it. But it takes some serious inner work. Sorting out the feelings attached to these events isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Inner work requires the right tools and courage to face our fears. This quest will take on a path of self-discovery, Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1).
Even if we can repair the trauma, we must embrace the realization that we are all flawed. Our biodegradable container will not last forever, but the temporary nature of life and the significant imperfections make us unique and valuable to humankind. Remember, everyone you meet is traumatized on some level.
Lessons of Reflections
No one makes it out of this life alive. Our existential fear can be motivation for the inner journey where we confront this inevitability. The Hero’s Journey takes courage, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, but you possess them. They are the virtues of the spirit.
People break in the strangest ways, but we all share the same core lessons. One of these lessons is that everyone is traumatized, and everyone carries scars that make them unique, and yet, we can still reflect the goodness of the virtues that live in our souls.
“The fear of death is the beginning of slavery.” ― Robert Anton Wilson, The Golden Apple
Everyone You Meet is a Reflection of Yourself
Physics tells us we affect everything we observe, is an interactive exchange. When we perceive something, we change it, and it changes us. When we look at a beautiful sunset, it does something to us; it resonates on some deep primal level. We understand that this beauty is fleeting and temporary, and perhaps this is why many cultures dedicate and rituals to sunrises and sunsets. How do these events make you feel? Can we apply the same concept to the people we meet?
If we like someone, we are actually seeing something that we like within ourselves. Make a mental note of the people you like to find that aspect within yourself that resonates with the other person. Sometimes this quality may not be apparent. It may be something on a deep subconscious level which will require some inner work to reveal. Don’t overlook these opportunities to understand the beautiful parts of our own nature.
The same principle applies to the people we dislike. They are showing you something you dislike about yourself. It’s the part of ourselves we want to deny. These people are also great opportunities for self-discovery. It’s not as pleasant to look at these qualities we dislike within ourselves, but it’s important to bring them into the light.
When you reveal these connections, you’ll begin to understand how everyone you meet is a reflection of yourself? This realization alone is motivation enough to show friendliness, kindness, and compassion to everyone in our path.
Here’s a simple internal repeating question exercise. Select a day or at least an hour when you ask yourself questions about the people you meet and the creatures you see. Even the birds and squirrels we encounter have lessons to teach us.
Ask yourself, what do you see on their faces? What answers do you get from asking this question? If you get nothing, keep asking. Thoughts or emotions will surface, opening your awareness, keep asking yourself, what do you see?
Everyone You Meet Has Something to Teach You
Life is all about lessons. If we are not ready to learn, they often repeat the situation until we finally get the message. It’s one reason people keep repeating the same thing over and over, making the same poor choices and making the mistakes.
It’s not enough to recognize how people resonate with you, you also need the clarity to understand the lesson in the connection. To do this, you need to recognize and understand the thought processes behind the choices you make. Are you making choices out of habit or addiction? Are you choosing relationships because they represent a lesson you need to learn?
One thing that helps us understand the lessons of relationships is choosing to base relationships on healthy spiritual energy rather than superficial and temporary conditions. It can be a difficult choice. Just because we are attracted to someone doesn’t mean they would be good for us. The Venus Flytrap is attractive to insects. But if you are a butterfly, you need to learn to avoid them.
“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions ― as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Brief encounters can play an enormous role in this experiment; we call it life. Some people are in our lives for only a few fleeting moments. Sometimes these people are the ones who make the most considerable impact. It could be almost anyone. Perhaps they are the drunk driver that runs into your car and causes some trauma. Or maybe they are the person who gives you something to eat when you are hungry. You never see these people again, yet they leave you with a life-changing memory.
There are some lessons for you to learn in all encounters and relationships. Don’t forget, everyone you meet has something to teach you, so don’t miss these learning opportunities. Sit down and write a list of the most significant people in your life. Then write at least two things you’ve learned from the encounter or relationship.
Take your list of significant people and see common lessons or a pattern that connect several people. Be sure to include yourself on this list. What lessons have you learned or are you learning from yourself?
There are also people that we have known for many years. It could be a coworker or a partner. Ask yourself, what are they teaching me? What are you teaching them? Don’t forget that you are also part of the equation. You are learning from yourself. What lessons are you learning?
The best way to learn is to cultivate a beginner’s attitude. If you think you are an expert and have nothing to learn, you will miss these learning opportunities.
Everyone You Meet Has a Battle Inside
They teach us to conceal our feelings, including emotional battles, at an early age. Children ask questions about death because they want to know how to confront this fear. Instead of using this as a means of self-discovery, we often give them the counterfeit of an afterlife in heaven. All this does is substitute one fear for another. Now we have to worry about losing the afterlife rewards in fear of spending eternity in hell.
We learn to conceal our feelings. Most modern cultures teach us not to express our true feelings, so we have difficulty talking about and healing from trauma. We need spiritual teachers and counselors who can help us navigate this emotional terrain. Everyone you meet is a reflection of yourself handling a battle of some kind.
No one grows up in a completely healthy family environment. Even the romantic families portrayed on television reveal the undercurrent of some abnormal or unhealthy activity. Take the television program, Leave it to Beaver. Here we have a supposedly ideal suburban family situation. However, when you look at the program today, you see an undercurrent of sexism and gender discrimination. June Cleaver always caters to the husband, Ward Cleaver, and children’s needs.
Many TV situation comedies center on abnormal behavior. The TV program All in the Family was a sitcom centered on the conflict between Archie Bunker, a sexist bigot, and Michael, a liberal. This TV program was humorous because it exposed racial and sexual bigotry we could all identify within our everyday lives.
These TV programs helped us see how everyone is traumatized, and everyone you meet has a battle inside. We could identify with the struggle and the scars from our turmoil.
“How many times… have you encountered the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the Master speaks?’ Do you know why that is true? The door opens inward. The Master is everywhere, but the student has to open his mind to hear the Master’s Voice.” ― Robert Anton Wilson, Masks of the Illuminati.
Things To Keep in Mind
Everyone You Meet is a Reflection of Yourself. The challenge is learning to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. We can use this mirror to make the world a better place. That’s the real challenge.
This message is even more critical as we try to manage the consequences of living through a pandemic. We live in a state of trauma caused by the ever-present danger. Take every opportunity to show friendliness and live with compassion. Can you do it?
(1) Joseph Campbell’s Book the Hero with a Thousand Faces: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces