Stay with me here.
I had an epiphany the other day. I was in the shower listening to a talk by some motivational speaker or another (his name escapes me). Anyway, he said something along the lines of:
Of course I’ve heard this before in various forms but I’ve never really stood there with shampoo in my hair and thought about it. I mean like really thought about it.
Years ago, I heard Louise Hay mention this concept in her 101 powerful thoughts, she said:
“My life is a mirror. Every person in my life is a reflection of some part of me. The people I love reflect the loving aspects of myself”.
Yep, cool. I’m cool with that but then she added:
“The people I dislike reflect those part of myself that need healing…“
And that my friends, is where Louise lost me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan but as I listened to these ‘powerful thoughts’, images of some of the people that irked me through the years flashed before me… followed by a spark of anger. Nope! Not having it. There is NO way that these people ‘reflect parts of me that need healing’. Are you kidding me? I didn’t get it and I didn’t want to get it. In fact, my very next thought was ‘how fucking dare you Louise Hay’!
I hadn’t really given this concept much more thought until I heard it again the other day, expressed slightly differently. Perhaps because I’m feeling a lot more reflective of late but I had an actual light bulb moment!
‘Your friends are a mirror of yourself – your own thinking coming back to you’. I repeated it a few times in my head. Mirror of myself. My own thinking. Coming back to me. WHAT THE FUCK?
All of a sudden, I had a flashback of the friendships that turned sour, the times I complained about the people I seemed to be meeting. The friends I was frustrated with and the people I just didn’t seem to click with anymore. These people were my friends. People I liked but a part of them or something they were doing was getting on my last nerve. My friends. My own thinking. Coming back to me.
You see, the mistake I made when I was listening to Louise Hay was that I was thinking about the people I don’t like. The real bitches out there. People that were outright nasty or mean and for no good reason. I can’t explain these people other than to say that sometimes in life, you just meet assholes. Shit happens. But what I should have been doing instead is looking at my friends, the people I have chosen to spend my time with. What is it about these friends that frustrates me? And how are these friends my own thinking coming back to me?
So, this bitch ‘friend’ of mine isn’t actually just one person. It’s a collection of friends throughout my life. And these friends aren’t actually ‘bitches’ (and neither am I – just for the record). These are just the qualities and traits about a collection of friends that I find frustrating. Why? Because they are reflecting my own thinking coming back to me.. and quite frankly, I don’t like it.
You know the friend I’m talking about. The one that has to wait until all the stars are aligned, the moon is at a particular angle and the temperature is just right before they even attempt to start working on their goal.This friend is frustrating because she spends all her time talking about wanting to change and do better things but she never does, because the conditions are never quite right for her to start. She doesn’t have enough money, she hasn’t done that course yet, she’s not in the right shape etc.
As the years pass by, you find that your eyes start to glaze when she talks of her grand plans. Before you know it, you stop taking her seriously and instead just humour her with your feigned encouragement. Sometimes it even gets to the stage when you get home after an evening with her and you’re actually annoyed that you wasted two hours of your life listening to her grand life plans when you know full well she won’t do a thing to achieve them. She’s just one of those people that likes to talk the talk but she never actually does anything! She’s frustrating because you’ve had enough of listening to her jackanory story and her lame excuses.
I mean, if she wants to do something… why the hell doesn’t she just go ahead and do it?
The fat friend
I mean, goddammit – if you want to lose weight, just stop eating! If you want to be healthier, just exercise. If you want to quit smoking, just stop smoking!!! Right?!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am forever trying to stop my bad habits and take up good ones. I’ll get all sad about my jelly belly and then do two days of hard core workouts. I’ll feel like I’m on top of the world for these two days and will go around telling everyone about the ‘new me’… and then I won’t exercise again for about 2 months! I talk about how good meditation is for you and how I want to be more mindful but I can’t set aside 20 minutes a day to meditate!!!
I want to slap my ‘fat friend’ because she is a physical reflection & representation of my own lack of willpower and discipline. When she tells me about her new exercise goals or new diet, I am faced with the truth of how I appear to my friends when I say “My stomach is so big now, I need to exercise”, “I really need to get healthy”, “I need to start waking up early” etc. REALLY? Then just fucking do it!!!
There are so many other examples I could give you about the ‘bitches’ in my life. The friend who’s a Debbie downer because she lacks self worth & self belief. The friend who always likes to complain but never listens to anyone’s suggestions. The friend who has no passion or zest for life. You catch my drift?
These ‘friends’ are exaggerated versions of my weaknesses. They piss me off because they remind me of parts of my personality I don’t want people to know about.
My friends are good people. I now realise that they are in my life to help me face up to the good, the bad and the ugly parts of my personality. So the next time they piss me off and I think to myself ‘Aargh, you’re so annoying! You could sort your life out if you just bloody well did x, y and z’ … maybe I should just follow my own advice?!
The penny has finally dropped…
1. Have a quick think about 5 of your nearest and dearest and write down 1-2 things about them that frustrate you or that you don’t like. For example, you may be frustrated with a friend or loved one because they are immature, too competitive, materialistic, too needy etc.
Once you’ve completed your list, ask yourself honestly if other people have ever or could ever use those words to describe you? Remember, it’s likely that what frustrates you about a friend is an exaggerated version of you.
2. Once you’ve identified what these traits/ characteristics are… what advice would you give your friend to change or improve?
3. Follow that advice!