The Law of the Mirror states that what we see in others is actually a reflection of what’s inside us, and therefore if we want to be happy, our happiness doesn’t depend on others, but on ourselves.
Let’s take a look at the Law of the Mirror, which teaches us how to manage problems with other people (family members, friends, co-workers, etc.) by using exercises with yourself.
Things that bother you
There are always things that bother you; it annoys you that your sister-in-law always says the same thing during family dinners, that your parents want to control your life too much, that your children aren’t sincere with you, that you aren’t valued at work, that your brothers are selfish, that your friends don’t support you the way you want them to… etc. While everyone has different problems, many people often expect others to act in a certain way and feel disappointed when they don’t. On top of that, we ourselves are probably disappointing others in the same way at the same time, without even being aware of it.
As a first exercise, we propose making a list with all the things that bother you about the people that surround you.
Things about you that bother other people
So now we’re going to do it the other way around, and we will make a list of the things that could bother people, or has bothered people, at some moment. In order to do this you need to be sincere and self-critical. You aren’t perfect, you’re human, and you know that you’ve messed up several times. That’s why it’s important to learn to be empathetic. This means you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
What the Law of the Mirror says
The Law of the Mirror teaches us that if you truly feel something negative towards another person, the cause lies in your own heart, not in the other person. For example, if you feel offended by something someone said to you, it’s because you too are offending someone else, it might not be that person, but it was someone else. And if you learn to realize, and most especially, avoid it, you might possibly also stop offending others. It’s interesting how not everyone reacts the same way to the same situation. Because not everyone has the same heart.
A practical exercise
We’re going to choose two people that have something about them that you can’t stand, which makes you feel hurt, offended or angry, and then we’re going to make a list of the things we’d like to thank them for. At times it could surprise you and even annoy you, which is why you need to really make an effort. It’s worth it. Undoubtedly there has been a time when they have done something for you or for a family member, there’s been some detail in which they have helped you, etc. Dedicate however much time is necessary.
Then you’re going to do something even more difficult. Make a list of the things that you would like to ask their forgiveness for, even though they may be small things. You may have looked at them bad, criticized them behind their back, disrespected them, said something mean to them, or have forgotten to thank them for something. This will be a truly exercise in humility, the the third and last step is only for the bravest of people.
Get into contact with that person (personally, by phone or by letter). Thank them for everything on your list, and ask their forgiveness for everything on the second list.
This previous exercise could seem absurd, because a lot of people are too proud to carry it out, or they think it should be done the other way around. They feel that they are the ones that should be thanks and that give forgiveness. But it has some truly surprising results, and these people would never expect such a message, generally react very positively and are excited.
Where, how, with whom?
This exercise can be done whenever you like and with whomever you need. This is a practical exercise that almost always gives good results. It is so simple, and yet not easy at all. It’s worth it to try it, especially with those that you love the most, or in situations that harm you or that make you want to overcome.