I got this inspirational tale in an email recently and I wanted to share it with you because I believe it perfectly encapsulates a basic principle of life that I try to remember whenever I am struggling, or feeling let down or neglected by others.
What you give out you get back
Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors…
A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”
In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”
All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?
First let me make one thing clear. I am not saying we must be smiling, positive people all the time. The MIRROR principle isn’t about that. But it is a powerful tool to refer to when you find yourself struggling with problematic people and difficult relationships.
By looking at what we believe about people and how we treat everyone we encounter in life, we can sometimes see where a problem stems from.
Maybe you had overly critical parents as a child, so you tend to attract critical people into your life because they’re the kind of relationships you’re comfortable with on a subconscious level. To you, love equals criticism because hey, it’s for your own good. “How will you ever know what you’re doing wrong if I don’t tell you”.
In this scenario, you can start to enact change by simply turning that mirror back onto yourself.
Where are you critical and judgmental? Listen to the words you use and the thoughts that run at a rapid pace through your mind. Do you gossip, silently judge others who live differently to you, or give a lot of “constructive advice” for how people can do things better? Do you find yourself thinking that everyone else is an idiot because they don’t do it your way?
Or maybe the person you are really negative and critical with is yourself. Maybe you can do nothing right in your eyes and the only language going around in your head every day is harsh and perfectionist. Maybe the criticism that comes at you from other people is really a mirror for the criticism you direct at the one person you should be the kindest to. YOU.
What do you think? Are the people in our lives mirrors for our own emotions, beliefs and behaviour? Can we really change how others treat us by changing how we treat ourselves?
Photo by Lukje