"Your image is reflected, like a mirror, by the relationships and experiences you have."
*The following expert is from Mirror Images: A Guide to Happiness Through Conscious Living and explains the Mirroring process. It is an important concept to understand when completing the exercises in the 30 Days to Greater Self-Awareness Workbook.
Mirroring is one of the first tools we used to cultivate self-awareness, and it formed the foundation of our journey to happiness. Our teacher, Eileen Montroy, introduced the concept to us, offering us the opportunity to work with the process in our everyday lives. Mirroring is a practice we still routinely follow and recognize as an instrument for personal transformation. As the technique of Mirroring opens your eyes to new ways of seeing yourself and the relationships you share, we encourage you to allow the concept to be at the core of your path to self-awareness too. You may find the practice intrigues you, and it may even aggravate you at times, but in the end, it will inspire you to know yourself more truthfully.
Mirroring is a term used to define the idea that your image is reflected, like a mirror, by the relationships and experiences you have. These reflections come from your spouse, friends, children, coworkers, strangers, or even your pets. The list is endless because, in theory, every encounter is an opportunity to learn about your true authentic self. The mirrored reflections you experience uncover the truth about who you think you are. The challenge: however, is that people often identify themselves, both consciously and unconsciously, as something objectionable and inaccurate. They hide these uncomfortable beliefs deep inside rather than acknowledging they are there, or they may be affecting them in detrimental or unhealthy ways. Until this recognition happens, these hidden beliefs continue to overrule happiness.
If you pay attention to the images in your daily Mirrors, you will become aware of your faulty beliefs. As these concealed views surface, you can use the Mirroring process to release the grip they hold on your happiness. When you let go of false and harmful ways that you see yourself, you make way for a more accurate and authentic identity, which paves the way to a happier state of being.
The Mirroring process also naturally increases awareness of your innate and true nature. Through this exercise, you begin to understand that you are a part of something sacred and divine and that your genuine disposition stems from this, rather than any negative or false ways you perceive yourself. As a tool, Mirroring changes limiting beliefs and perceptions. This shift leads to significant personal transformation and has a positive effect on overall happiness and well-being.
The foundation of Mirroring involves a change in views, and because of this, it does take practice and repetition. Mirroring requires that you make each interaction a conscious one. In other words, you will need to become aware of yourself and the world around you, also why you react the way you do in each situation. It will take some getting used to, but the more you work on seeing your interactions through the lens of Mirroring, the easier it becomes.
Mastering the skill of conscious dealings is critical to finding genuine happiness and essential to the Mirroring process. You will find most exchanges you have are the opposite of this, as you typically go about your day on autopilot, seldom questioning your behavior or reactions. You do not ask why you felt hurt when your partner forgot to call to say they would be late, why you took offence to a coworker’s bossy attitude, or why you swore under your breath when a stranger cut you off in traffic calling him an idiot.
People rarely, if ever, take the time to be mindful of their daily interactions. They have no problem stopping to blame others for what they are feeling but seldom ask where these emotions, judgments, and beliefs originated in the first place. When you pause to ask yourself these types of questions and begin to contemplate the answers, you step onto the path of becoming a conscious thinker.
The way to block becoming a mindful participant in your interactions is by projecting your feelings and judgments onto others. It is a lot easier to say, “The idiot driver made me angry because he cut me off,” instead of looking within and contemplating where that anger might stem. Hint: it did not come from the idiotic motorist.
To become truly accountable for your state of being, you will need to consider the idea that no one else is responsible for how you feel, including your happiness. This essential step towards increasing self-awareness and self-empowerment is crucial for finding success with the Mirroring process. As you can imagine, it is challenging to be empowered when you feel someone else holds control over your reactions, beliefs, or emotions.
Personal accountability is an important concept and an absolute necessity if choosing a path of self-awareness. When you intend to be accountable, you take responsibility for your perceptions and how they contribute to your happiness. To do this, you need to discover your underlying beliefs or self-judgments. Perceptions that are inaccurate or false need exposure because they damage your self-identity and block happiness. For instance, if you have suppressed views that you are unlovable, even if you are not conscious of this detrimental self-perception, you still manifest experiences that reflect your false belief of being undeserving of love.
Overall, the Mirroring process allows you to grasp how false beliefs are perpetuating your unhappiness. As you practice Mirroring, you learn to become mindful in your interactions and inevitably accountable for your state of well-being. When you uncover deceptive beliefs, your reality then has an opportunity to be based on something more loving and accurate, which serves as a solid foundation for greater happiness and contentment.
The following seven steps guide you through the Mirroring process.
STEP ONE: Intend to Empower Yourself
A key component to the practice of Mirroring is a willingness and desire to learn the truth about who you are, and you need to be prepared to discover how you honestly see yourself; good, bad, and ugly. It also involves understanding the current beliefs you have may not be accurate, and you are willing to expose and face them to discover your authentic self. When you commit to uncovering the inner beliefs you have, even when hard to look at, you empower yourself to transform old ideas that tie you to unhappiness. What you see within each mirrored reflection may not be easy to look at, but if you dare to face the image, you claim power over false beliefs that have been holding you back.
As you observe what arises during your Mirroring practice, it is necessary to keep an open mind and avoid judging what you find because it is not helpful to be critical of what emerges. Judgment of what you see in yourself, or others, will impede progress and perpetuate negative or false beliefs. You can support your practice by always witnessing reflections with curiosity and compassion.
Making a conscious choice to empower yourself is a crucial first step in the Mirroring process because it sets an intention and serves as a reminder that it is up to you to make the change you desire. In step one, you enable yourself through your objective to transform inaccurate views and reaffirm responsibility for your happiness.
Take a moment to reflect on any tendencies or beliefs that are currently disempowering you. Which can include being overly critical of yourself, believing you are less than or harbouring feelings of guilt. Patterns related to the need or desire to be right, to want to be in control, or the inclination to judge others are also examples. Additional unconstructive tendencies include projecting difficult emotions to avoid dealing with them or feeling like a victim of either your circumstances or the actions of others.
By letting go of harmful habits and beliefs, you take control over patterns that limit you. Remember, if old habits die hard, external circumstances will continue to control you and restrict your power to change what is holding you back. If you are not ready to take ownership of your actions, judgments, emotions, and beliefs, it will be impossible to change them.
As a reminder that you empower your happiness, contemplate the following three questions each time you begin the Mirroring process. Prepare to create transformative change in your life as you answer yes to each.
1. Am I ready to see the truth?
2. Can I limit the judgment of others and myself?
2. Can I be responsible for my emotions, actions, and beliefs and avoid projecting blame?
STEP TWO: Find a Mirror in Your Experience
In step two, you learn to recognize when there is a Mirror in your experience. A helpful guideline is to focus on instances that cause an emotional response because this indicates an opportunity to work with a Mirror. It will quickly become obvious anything can act as a Mirror, and it will be impossible not to see them everywhere.
A wonderful place to start is to look at the relationships in your life. Think back to some of your recent interactions and recall any thoughts, feelings, or judgments you had. Did you feel strong emotions such as anger, hurt, rejection, hatred, and so on? For instance, your spouse forgot to take out the garbage, and you responded with anger or annoyance because you felt disrespected or unheard, or one of your friends backed out of dinner plans at the last moment, and you felt rejected and hurt.
Pay attention to occasions when a person or experience evokes a response from you. The trigger can result from a seemingly inconsequential minor incident or one that is substantial. Remember to resist judging any of the thoughts or feelings you notice and instead see them as a valuable opportunity to know who you are with greater authenticity.
As you search for potential Mirrors, keep a journal and list unwanted or intense responses. Writing down your impressions and emotions is helpful when learning the Mirroring process and highlights limiting or false beliefs. Your list may look like the following example.
My partner said he would contact me and did not.
I felt sad, angry, and unimportant.
Someone cut me off in traffic while I was driving.
I felt angry, annoyed, and disrespected.
My co-worker was disrespectful towards me at work today.
I felt irritated, judged, and disgusted.
The practice of Mirroring can be challenging at first, especially when you uncover destructive feelings and beliefs. It can be hard to admit you are often angry, feel unworthy or unlovable, or that you are critical and judgmental. When these things come into your awareness, you have an opportunity to work with patterns and beliefs that have shaped how you experience life and are a direct contributing factor to unhappiness. The good news is that any unpleasant or inaccurate beliefs you discover are not the authentic truth of who you are, of anyone for that matter. However, you do need to become conscious of these to resolve and transform them.
STEP THREE: Find the False Belief
Once you find a Mirror to work with, it is time to discover what the incident or experience reveals about your inner beliefs. In other words, what opinions and sentiments are illuminated or mirrored to you by the situation?
We tend not to be aware of the various perceptions we connect to our identity. When these perceptions are false, they damage our sense of self and prevent us from remembering our true state of being, restricting our capacity for happiness. These limiting beliefs, referred to as ‘false beliefs,’ are why we cannot see, or embrace, our genuine nature.
Sacred or divine qualities fundamental to happiness such as self-acceptance, love, peace, wisdom, and joy are part of our inherent nature; however, our false beliefs do not allow us to recognize or accept these attributes. The consequence is that we will continue to have experiences that support the false beliefs we unknowingly have. We will also search externally to find the qualities we long for, which is an important concept we expand on in subsequent chapters.
If you have a false belief of being unworthy, you attract experiences that support this, and you perceive situations in a way that maintains your false perception. Contrary to this, if you accept your inherent value and worth, your experiences will accurately reflect the divine aspects you know yourself to have. You would perceive your world through a lens of being valuable and worthy.
To discover the reflection in the Mirror of your experience and the associated false belief, use the list below. All false beliefs fall under one of these five categories, and for each reflection, choose the belief that you feel is most applicable to your experience. You will use this in the remaining steps of the Mirroring process.
The Five Core False Beliefs
A false belief that you feel undeserving due to a personal lack in value or self-worth. As a result, you often feel inadequate or worthless.
2) Not good enough
A false belief of not feeling good enough often results from guilt acquired because of past mistakes or actions.
A false belief that you do not deserve love due to personal faults you perceive to exist. As a result, you feel you are unable to attract love and affection from others.
4) Something is wrong with me
A false belief that you have done something improper or dishonorable and something is wrong with you. Along with shame, there will often be feelings of disgrace, self-blame, embarrassment, or regret.
5) Feeling unheard, less than, or disrespected
A false belief that you are not listened to by others and not treated fairly. As a result, there is often a sense of feeling unimportant and not held in high regard.
Using the example of someone cutting you off in traffic, which category of false belief do you think your reaction would fall into? If you felt disrespected, it would relate to number five—feeling unheard, less than, or disrespected. If you felt like it was your fault due to your inadequate driving skills, it would fall under number four—something is wrong with you.
At times, you may feel your reaction activated several false beliefs; however, only pick and work with one. There is no wrong answer; just choose the one you think best fits. If you are unsure, select the false belief you regularly notice in other experiences. As you become more skilled, you can end up working with multiple false beliefs at once.
STEP FOUR: Own the Reflection
The fourth step involves understanding that other people reflect the beliefs that you hold, which means that every thought, emotion, or judgment you have about someone you also deem to be true about yourself. This concept may challenge you because it can be difficult to comprehend that when a person makes you angry or is irritating, they are offering a reflection of you.
Taking ownership of each reflection, rather than placing blame, takes courage. It is easy to project the responsibility for what you are feeling onto another. Nevertheless, true peace and happiness will never result from a momentary projection because the truth is that the core of your anger, unworthiness, guilt or fear is within you. You cannot outrun what is within. It will inevitably come up again, with other people and in different situations, until you eventually turn inward to face the root cause of the pain attached to the false belief.
In step four, it is essential to realize that judgments activated by a Mirror would not surface if you did not have that opinion or belief somewhere within about yourself. If you think someone is stupid, a part of you also has that self-view. If you feel you cannot trust someone, a part of you believes you are untrustworthy. If you hate someone, you get the point. You may not consciously think of yourself in these ways, but if you feel triggered when you see traits in others, it is because you have masked self-judgments within. Always remember, being around another person that frustrates or triggers you is the perfect time to use the Mirroring process.
Our wise teacher, Eileen, would say you would be enlightened if you could walk by a beggar on the street without judgment while at the same time being able to truly see them as a piece of something sacred and divine. She is suggesting this is possible if you do not have any false beliefs. If you no longer judge yourself, you will not need to judge others, and as a result, would authentically view yourself and everyone as the divine being they are.
STEP FIVE: Center yourself in a Quiet Space
As you work through the Mirroring process, you will encounter challenging theories and strong emotions. False beliefs inevitably rise to the surface, and this can be uncomfortable. When you face a Mirror that triggers intense emotions or initiates a fight or flight reaction, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. Anger, guilt, unworthiness, or other uncomfortable feelings do not feel great. In such moments, you will need to deny the impulse to resist the discomfort or project outwards.
Step five involves creating a quiet space to focus on what comes up during your practice. It is essential to take the time to generate a calm and safe space when you find yourself irritated or upset by a Mirror so you can be in the optimum space to discover the wisdom offered. The following technique will facilitate this.
It involves focusing on your breath, which is one of the simplest ways to draw your awareness away from the intensity of your experience. Use this exercise as a tool to center yourself and become still when you feel out of sorts.
Sit or lay quietly. Breathing in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice the feeling of your breath as you inhale and exhale gently. As you slow your breath, take a moment to observe how your belly moves up and down, with the slow rhythmic in-and-out pattern. Continue breathing deeply, and with each out-breath, imagine any tension washing away and releasing. Breathing in, imagine a beautiful, peaceful light filling your body. Breathing out, release all tension. Remain with this practice until your mind and body feel relaxed and your inner space feels quiet and calm.
Fifteen breaths with this simple technique are enough to increase serenity. In the quiet space you created, your intentions have moved your focus inwards, and this will help you avoid projecting emotions outward.
STEP SIX: Embrace the Innate Truth
The sixth step is powerful. The intention is to allow the reality of your innate divine nature to rise above any misconceptions, doubts, fears, and judgments you have been holding onto as false beliefs. You will use the core false belief you exposed earlier to discover and embrace your true nature. Your true nature is opposite to that of any mistaken belief.
From your quiet, centered space, use the list below to remind yourself of the false belief most applicable to your experience.
2. Not good enough
4. Something is wrong with me
5. Feeling unheard, less than, or disrespected
Now, use the corresponding authentic truth to negate your inaccurate belief. For example, if unworthiness is your false belief, the inherent truth is that you are worthy.
1. I am worthy
2. I am valued
3. I am deserving of love
4. I am honorable
5. I am acknowledged and respected
Finally, say your authentic truth aloud, in this instance, “I am worthy.”
How does it make you feel to say the words? Do you feel uncomfortable? Do the words resonate with you? It may feel strange, and you may even doubt that you believe what you are saying, but speaking the truth allows you to become mindful of this new awareness. With this discovery, you claim the authentic truth of your worth and decide no longer to accept the incorrect notions of any false belief.
Do not be concerned if you have a tough time believing or embracing the trait you say aloud. The practice of Mirroring involves dealing with doubts and fears, and you may feel resistance to letting go of long-held ideas. If you do, be patient, and recognize any opposition is coming from frightened or unsure places, not from the authentic core of whom you are. Have the following words handy to inspire you through moments of self-conflict or doubt.
“I empower myself to change by using the Mirroring process and commit to taking responsibility for my life and all that lies within me. I am accountable for my beliefs, my well-being, and my happiness. By transforming my inner world, my outer world changes. I am who I choose to be.”
STEP SEVEN: Allow and Trust
When you commit to learning about your authentic self through the Mirroring process, you intend to take responsibility for your path to happiness. In no way does it mean that you will be alone or unsupported along the way. It is the exact opposite. When you ask to know the truth by turning inwards, you then have access to the residing Higher Knowing.
This part of you can see the complete picture, even when you feel immersed in the dark. It has the highest vantage point and can guide you to exactly where you need to be. Your Higher Knowing will always lead you back to a natural state of inherent happiness if you permit it. If you can allow your experiences to unfold in whatever way necessary, even when they are difficult, you will be successful with what step seven asks of you.
True surrender is not simple to do. It is easy when things are going smoothly, but it can be a problem when things are extremely difficult and not going the way you want. You may notice you are willing to allow and surrender part way or under certain conditions, but you cannot partially submit. Complete surrender means that no matter what happens, you chose to trust it is that way for your highest good, even if you may not like or understand it.
Trust and allowing serve a supporting role in each of the steps in the Mirroring process. As you move through your practice, check in often to see if you are feeling any resistance. This inner conflict or struggle may express itself through tension or anger, complaining, feeling like a victim, projecting blame, or refusing to move forward. Resistance closes the channel of communication with your Higher Knowing and the wisdom available. Stay open to your experiences and allow them to unfold as they reveal the truth of who you are.