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Some people talk in the personal growth and new age circles about using relationship as a mirror to understand your self. I’ve seen this idea of a relationship mirror described in so many ways, often with lots of distortions. With these distortions the attempt to understand relationships leads to misunderstanding Self.
People distort this concept of using the mirror of reflection in relationships and turn it into self judgment. This overcorrection helps to take the pressure off your partner, but might unfairly put it on your self. I want to take Steve Pavlina post and take it a layer deeper for clarity. Steve Pavlina writes in his theoretical example:
“So my conflict with Erin is just the projection of an internal conflict. Supposedly my desire for Erin to be neater and more organized means that I really want to improve in this area myself.”
The conflict, or problem we have with another person is a projection of the conflict in our own consciousness. I’ll agree with Steve on this at a surface level, but not for the same reasons.
If I want my partner to be neater it is because I have a core belief/behavior habit that says neat is required. It is like a law in my mind that they have to live by. I also have a judgmental side of my personality (a critical voice in my head) that is voicing thoughts on behalf of this belief. That judge character in my mind is not only promoting compliance with the law for my partner, but also for my self. The internal judge believes the law applies to everyone and pretty much all the time.
When I look and see if my projected conflict issue is really an internal conflict issue I am going to find that true. That’s because I live in the core belief of neatness that has to be complied with. If checking with “my self” means checking in with the Inner Judge and its Laws of Beliefs on Neatness, of course I am going to draw that conclusion. The subjective realty of the Inner Judge is that everyone has to obey the law including me.
Just because we are critical of someone else, and let go of that agenda, doesn’t mean we should give license to the Inner Judge to be critical of ourselves. We can still question the beliefs it operates by and have a choice about changing our mental laws of “neatness” and others.
It isn’t a big deal when it is about being neat and organized. But those core beliefs and judgments generate anger and frustration in our relationships through the same dynamics. Then it causes more emotional problems.
Usually according to that critical voice in our head, pretty much no amount of neatness (or whatever the issue is) will ever be enough. No matter how well we do, that voice usually chimes in at some point and says we could have done better, or, sets the bar higher for the future. It is when the judge character in the mind goes un-managed that we will have a difficult time creating and feeling self acceptance.
On the flip, if we ever became neat “enough” or met anybody that is “neat enough” to meet the criteria of the Inner Judge, another belief will probably voice a criticism that we/they are obsessive and compulsive. There is very little latitude for love and self acceptance by trying to comply with the subjective reality laws of the critical voice in the head. That because the Inner Judge has no problem attempting to enforce laws based in core beliefs that conflict. Failing to be on guard against this is at the price of your happiness.
The shift is to realize that our true consciousness is not critical of our Self or someone else. In this way we can use the tool of the mirror of relationships to find aspects of our self that are not the authentic Self. (self and Self used differently here). There are the beliefs about our self, that in the mind appear and can emotionally feel like our “self”. Upon closer inspection, when we dissolve the beliefs, that self dissolves, like the Inner Critic can dissolve. What we are left with is our Self as Consciousness.
On a second note:
The closest you can get to being objective is to imagine being objective, but that is in no way the same thing as true objectivity. That is because the act of observation requires a conscious observer, which is subjective by its very nature.
What Steve’s paradigm doesn’t seem to consider is the possibility of emptying the mind. The mind is the subjective reality. When your consciousness expands beyond the limits of the mind the world reality is no longer subjective. It is hard to fathom because most people haven’t perceived this possibility. it is generally only achieved through spiritual practices.
Beyond the filters and lenses of the mind there is still a relationship interaction going on. There are still connections in relationships; they just are not based in the images in the mind. Unconditional love is just one of them.
To dissolve the subjective reality of the mind requires that we dissolve the false images. It is these false images that are at the foundation of illusions, misunderstanding, and emotional drama in relationships. Dissolving these false images requires that you inventory and change your core beliefs. Most importantly you identify your core beliefs about the relationship with your self.
Just to be aware of the forces and temptations of these false images will change your understanding and your behavior in relationships. When you dissolve these false images you will have a completely different understanding of relationships.
Exercises and practices for this process are available in the Self Mastery Course. The first four sessions are free.
Happiness is not a pursuit, it is an expression.