You made plans with a friend, got ready, and are closing the door to your apartment. You hear your phone vibrating and look over only to see a text from said friend with a lousy excuse and last minute cancellation. Your reaction? You’re pissed! You just hate it when people flake last minute.
Whether it’s the co-worker who you absolutely can’t stand, the ex boyfriend you still call toxic, or the sibling you don’t see eye-to-eye with, any situation or person that triggers you is ultimately an opportunity to transform.
What exactly do I mean by this?
Enter: mirroring. Mirroring is the concept that everything around you reflects back information about you. Anything (and everything) that triggers negative emotion is information and provides you with the opportunity to recognize a quality you lack or possess.
For example, you’re annoyed by your super competitive co-worker. Instead of pointing fingers and complaining, be objective and choose to look closely at what s/he is reflecting.
Are they bringing up your own competitive nature?
Or maybe they’re reminding you of your lack of motivation.
The reason this quality is annoying you is because on some level, it’s also yours. Mic drop moment, I know. If you continue to ignore it, it will continue to frustrate you because what you resist persists.
Owning up to it, which is usually the harder option, not only gives you the opportunity to process it but also gives you the chance to grow.
The truth is, if you don’t recognize it, it will continue to haunt you until you have faced it and it’s often that thing that triggers you the most in others, that you need to improve on.
Because that’s how issues work - the don’t go away until you deal with them! But subconsciously you know that already...
Think of the triggers you see in other people like looking in a mirror - every part of you will be illuminated and it is what you choose to do with the information that will allow you to see your beauty or your thorns.
So next time something happens and you’re tempted to get angry, offended, or hurt, — take a steback, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “What is being mirrored here? What is the lesson for me to learn?” — and I assure you, you will get an answer.
How to Continue to Work Through Your Triggers
1. Find your mirrors
Spend some time thinking about the emotions you feel on a regular basis. Answer the following questions:
- What person, place, or quality upsets me or stirs up negative emotions in me?
- What situations do I find most difficult to handle?
- What behavior do I judge?
Don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and delve into the hard answers. This information will help you to begin to heal these patterns and create lasting change.
2. Be gentle with yourself
As you begin to notice these emotions, and recognize your mirrors, be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself for possessing a certain quality, but keep showing up and you will begin to see changes.
3. Make space for the positive
Begin to notice the people, activities, and environments that bring you feelings of joy, fulfillment, or passion. If you learn what makes you feel happy and fulfilled and take the actions to get you into that state, you will get closer to becoming your best self.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.