Monday Moment: Mirror image

Yung Pueblo_Understand Self to Give quote w logo

When it comes to relationships, we tend to think about whether we get along with other people in terms of their personality, characteristics, and quirks. What we forget is that we’re the other half of the equation. This is true not only as far as the alchemy of human connection goes, but also in the depth at which we are capable of understanding other people.

We experience everything we look at, and everyone we meet, through the lens of our own perception. We have a built-in filter that constantly checks our previous experiences for comparable references to our current one, to help us understand it. In the same way, our perceptions of the people we encounter are filtered through our understanding of ourselves. We see things we recognize, for better or for worse. Often, the things that challenge us most about other people are the qualities we (secretly, quietly) least admire in ourselves. Conversely, we gravitate towards people whose perspectives and values most closely mirror our own.

The more you know, the deeper you can go, and the more authentic any and all of your relationships can be, starting with the one you have with yourself. They all actually begin with that one.

Giving capacity

Yung Pueblo_Understand Self to Give quote w tag

One of the great benefits of mindfulness is that it introduces you to yourself, just as you are, in this moment. It can also be one of the challenges of the practice, if where you are right now is a tough spot. The only way past anything (really) is through it, though, and mindfulness can also help you learn to abide the discomfort of passing through negative thoughts or emotions – and also help you let them go on the other side.

With this self-knowledge, awareness and compassion, we become better friends to ourselves, and as as result, more capable of offering any of these qualities authentically to others.

It’s complicated, but it’s also that simple. It’s also a good reason to make self-care a part of your regular routine. When you dip into your reserve tank, then you’re about to have nothing left to give. You don’t have a light on your dashboard, though, so you’ve gotta pay attention to know when you’re about to run out.

The math makes perfect sense, when you think about it. In every case, you can’t give what you don’t have within you already. And the world can only offer you what you have the capacity to receive.