Ever notice how the people closest to you can also trigger the heck out of you?

She’s so selfish.
He’s so rude.
She’s a know-it-all.
He’s irresponsible. 

But, here’s the deal: Every characteristic we don’t like in someone else, exits within us as well.  As the old saying goes – when you point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

We all possess every human characteristic and emotion. There’s nothing we can see in another that we don’t have within.  As children, we began to assign good or bad, right or wrong to certain aspects of ourselves.  As we grew, we learned what we needed to hide to receive the most love.   And, we also learned how to overcompensate for the rejection of these qualities.

When we can’t be with certain qualities in ourselves, we reject and disown them – and then project them out onto others.  And then the people around us reflect these disowned qualities back to us. These disowned qualities are all the things you emphatically say you are not.

How do you know if you’re projecting?  Projection sounds a lot like judgment.  So, if you’re activated by someone’s behavior, it’s likely you’re in projection.

We’ll continue to be tested until we’re no longer triggered.  So, to neutralize the charge, we must own and integrate these disowned qualities within ourselves.  The soul is longing to be whole…reclaiming, integrating and making peace with these rejected pieces of ourselves is the path to wholeness.  When looking for these qualities within, it’s important to remember that we may not exhibit or express them the way someone else does.  So, we’re looking for the aspect beneath the behavior.

  • Think for a moment about someone close to you.
  • Now, identify the specific quality in them that triggers you – the quality under the behavior.
  • Ask yourself, “Where is this same quality in me?” (Remember, you might display it differently.)
  • Ask yourself, “How do I overcompensate for the rejection of this quality?”
  • Accept this disowned quality. Say, “I am X.” Not easy, but we can all be X from time to time.
  • Embrace this quality and find the gift it offers you.

Now you try it!

Can you think of a quality, displayed in someone close to you, that you’ve made bad or wrong and have decided you’re not that?  Remember, we point that finger out when we have trouble owning these qualities in ourselves.

Here’s the great news: You can do this exercise whenever you’re triggered – which for me, and most people I know, is just about daily.  Each time someone reflects one of your disowned qualities back to you, use that as an opportunity to own it.  Because owning it brings you one step closer to wholeness, self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.