We seem hardwired to have an opinion about other people. She’s too selfish. He’s so insecure. Those people cannot be trusted.

Every second of the day, we identify and judge other people’s character traits. Based on what we see, based on what people do.

And then we act in response to that. We ignore them, get upset with them, blame them for this and that.

We think we’re being objective and righteous. Knowing that what we see is the truth. That what we feel is because of what the other person is or does.

Sometimes we’re right. Usually we’re not. Because what we see in the other, is more often than not a reflection of ourselves.

Reject and accept

What we judge in the other, we are unable to accept in ourselves.

What we reject, despise or blame in the other, touches upon our own hurt.

The people we cannot bear to look at, are those who uncover our own shame.

The people we feel superior or inferior to, are those who reflect our own lack of self-worth and self-love.

Because the other is not bad, stupid, irresponsible, ugly, dumb, arrogant, narrow-minded, weak, weird or whatever.

The other simply mirrors those parts in us that we keep from self-awareness.

Parts we had to hide to protect. Parts our parents and teachers felt were defective. Parts we’re not mature enough to own.

Love yourself

In other words, the parts we have yet to accept, forgive, love, heal and incorporate into our presence.

And the other person? Is waiting for you, right in front of you, underneath all your projections. Ready for you to see them as they really are.

This is your work. To withdraw your projections and learn to love those missing parts of you. And to see the other person as they really are and love them for it.

The other is your mirror, not your enemy. Be grateful for that. Cherish it. And use it to grow and build truly intimate relationships.

If you dare.

Ilja van Roon

P.S. You may also be interested in this blog about how we open and close emotionally and about transforming your shadow.