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Other people are not a mirror

Dr. Helen Johnson

3 Dec 2020

Yesterday I was doing an online workshop (it was epic) and having an existential crisis because it was the kind ...

Yesterday I was doing an online workshop (it was epic) and having an existential crisis because it was the kind of stuff that goes deep and doesn’t let you wriggle out of anything (I love that shit). During this existential crisis I realised something so monumentally frustrating and ridiculous that I am embarrassed to even say – but here it is:


Sigh. I like to pretend that I don’t but I actually do. Not everyone. Not all the time. But sometimes, especially when my defences are low. I see myself through their eyes and then I actually believe what I see… And cliché of clichés, there might be five people showing me a beautiful reflection and I believe the negative one. Siiigghhhhhhh. Surely, I should be beyond this by now? Boring.

That’s what it is.

For example, I am really good at coaching and EFT. I know I am British and supposed to pretend otherwise but you need to know for this point to land that I am actually proper good. I have (according to others) a magical ability to see into the core of people and to get underneath all the surface crap to do really effective transformation. I get results. People end up doing more of what they most deeply want and need, feeling and being the best version of themselves, and having more light, balance, and success.

So then WHY do I still find myself shrinking when certain people in my life treat the coaching like a wishy washy hobby or – even worse – evidence of my inherent lunacy???! Why do I still let people’s rejection of my quirks, passions, and even vulnerabilities, affect me? It’s often unconscious but at some level a fear and discomfort creeps in that is really unhelpful.

I let myself believe that other people hold a mirror up to who I am. I can be particularly fooled if it is someone close to me because – well – they are up close aren’t they, they KNOW MORE STUFF ABOUT ME. Therefore, they must see me clearly. Therefore, their unflattering perspective on me must have some truth to it…

I know this is untrue – I know that other people’s perceptions are distorted by their own beliefs, experiences, values, and fears. They are just one person. Yet sometimes, despite great progress with this kind of crap, I let something past my defences.

So what do I do about it? I have made a list:

  • Ummmmm – I do some bloody coaching and mindset work because other people are way better at kicking my arse than I am (this is both literally and figuratively true) – beware any coach who thinks they are beyond working on themselves!

  • I reflect on the blocks to seeing myself clearly and I tackle those

  • I remind myself of who I am and I choose to find where that is reflected in the eyes of others. This may result in some uncomfortable eye gazing???

  • When doubt sets in I repeat: OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT A MIRROR

If you suffer from this too then you are welcome to steal my list, please do hit reply and let me know if it helps… 

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