What angers us in another person is more often than not an unhealed aspect of ourselves. If we had already resolved that particular issue,we would not be irritated by its reflection back to us.
– Simon Peter Fuller
Do you agree with this statement? It is something I have a hard time with. Sometimes I can see the truth in it based on my reaction to certain people, but I think there is more to it. I think I can be irritated by people who mirror my own challenges, but challenges that I have already overcome because they remind me of some past version of myself that I was not happy with. Or I guess sometimes I think “geez, you’re still struggling with that?! I totally got over it a few years ago…why can’t you?” Which is not very nice, I know, but at least I am aware of it and try to not think like that.
One of the things I very actively try to do is really reflect on why someone’s actions or words or other behaviours rub me the wrong way. It is easy to just say that you don’t like someone, or get mad when someone behaves in a way that you feel is not “right”, but I think few of us really examine why it is that we have such strong reactions sometimes. What is super interesting is that the more I try to really look inwards to explain my emotions, the more fascinated I am by what I discover and the majority of the time this curiosity leads to a total dissipation of the strong emotions I was having in the first place. I just can’t stress the importance of not having knee-jerk reactions, or at least not acting on them before really processing what is happening inside.
I find that the path from “I am feeling this way” to “let me figure out why” to “aha!” is probably the best way to avoid all conflict, because even if you end up discussing things at a later date, you can come to the conversation with a clear mind and free of hostility. And if it so happens that the “aha!” is the realization that what is irking you about another is the reflection of something you yourself are struggling with, then so much the better. Maybe you can both work on it together! :)