Reflections of Ourselves

I have been helping someone close to me recently with his feelings of inadequacy, so I decided that it would be a good idea to talk about the people in our lives.

Why is it that our own personal feelings and the people in our lives seem to go hand in hand?

That is right, the very people in our lives, are a direct reflection of what we feel within ourselves.

These can be both positive and negative emotions.

Let’s use the situation where this someone who is close to me that is having some feelings of inadequacy.  For anonymity’s sake, I will call him Samuel.

When I look at Samuel, I see a hardworking individual who loves to be on the go.  I very rarely see this him ever sit down to relax, because it just isn’t in him.  Sam’s version of relaxing is spending time with his family playing games or traveling somewhere like to a concert.  No matter what it is relaxing to him is quality time with the people he loves.  Occasionally, he will sit down to a drink and a great conversation.

Sam came to me recently, concerned that life in general was punishing him for taking some much-needed time off from his everyday routine. 

He had this vacation planned for a little over a year, made sure to plan all his work projects around his time off, as well as making sure to have the proper personal plans laid out for his time away.

Everyone important to him had adequate awareness of his plans as well as his time itinerary.  Sam took one week off to travel, spend time with out of state family, and then travel home.  7 days he took for himself out of the 365 he is at home, with the same family, friends, colleagues, and customers.

Upon arriving at home, he was met with tight deadlines, demanding individuals, and drama, ready to take them on because of the happy individual who made it home feeling contented to get on with his life.

He took on each individual issue, helping to sort everything out the best he could, but after all of his hard work, he lacked feeling any appreciation for the hard work he put into any of it.

He felt like all he was, was a person whose job it was to help other people fix their shit, and that Life was punishing him for being so selfish to take time off from other people’s problems. 

The truth is that he IS someone that helps others get their shit done, it is what he is good at, what he loves to do, and what he is known for.  Hell, he makes his living by helping others get their shit done.

When I pointed this out to him, that is when the light bulb came on within him.  It wasn’t his work itself that was making him feel so inadequate, so guilty.  In fact, the words he said was “The reason I like to work is because at work, I never feel like I am letting anyone down.”

He went on to say that even though no one has ever TOLD him he is a let down, he just feels that way.  He feels like he should always be doing more to earn everyone’s love and respect.

I knew then exactly what was going on. 

You see at work, he never has the feeling he is letting someone down, because when he has completed a job well done, he receives praise through the form of financial compensation, as well as a glowing review… he is great at what he does, so it is very rare when he gets a negative review.

When a negative review does come in, he makes sure to address the reasons why immediately until he has a satisfied customer, or he determines that there are some that just cannot be pleased.

In this manner, his customers are a direct reflection of himself in his work life.  If they are happy with a job well done, so is he.  

For those that he has determined just cannot be pleased, he bids them a good day and thinks no more about it because these people really do not matter in the scheme of things.  Since they do not matter in his life, there is nothing to reflect back to him, and he can easily let them go.

So what happens when it becomes more personal? 

Typically, a lot of our negative emotions are reflected in the form of our own friends, family, and close acquaintances.  I am not saying that they are terrible people, in fact a lot of them are our most dear loved ones. 

Of course there are those that are extremely toxic, of which we should find ways of weeding these people out, but for this article, I want to focus on those we hold dear.

I do not want to sound contradictory, however I want to point out that we as individuals have the ability to choose how we feel.  No one can MAKE us feel anything that we DO NOT want to feel.  However, with that being said, there is some self-training that is involved with learning this skill for some people.

I am a Life Coach, trained in the ways of self-reflection and emotional maturity, but even I have my moments where I fall prey to someone else projecting their negative feelings onto or towards me.

As an example, I will get back to Samuel.

He is feeling like he is inadequate because he is not doing enough to fix the demands of the people he loves.  Even though, outside of his work life, he spends every waking moment trying to do just that.

He has said that no one has ever told him that he has let them down, however, after he does everything that is asked for him, he never seems to get the appreciation that he is hoping for afterwards. No extra time spent, no one asking if he needs anything in return, and worse yet, if he makes a request for even just quality time in return, he is met with rejection and disappointment.

So I ask Samuel, “Well if you are the one taking time out for others, and doing for others, then why do you feel that their rejection is in any way related to your inadequacy?”

Samuel says nothing, so I continue with, “Maybe you feel inadequate because others do not show up for you after you have shown up for them.”

Samuel’s response to that was simply, “Yes but if I look at it that way, then I begin to feel as if they are the ones that are inadequate.”


What is happening with others, is what we see in ourselves, being reflected onto us by the ones that we love and respect.

CHALLENGE: The next time you have a negative reaction within yourself when it comes to dealing with someone close to you, I want you to pay close attention.

  1. Determine how the interaction made you feel. (Are you feeling like you are lacking in any way?)
  2. Really look at it and ask yourself, Am I just projecting what I see in this person, and placing that feeling onto me?

In this Challenge, I want you too really be honest with yourself

Knowledge Tip: When we begin to change our own mindset towards ourselves, the people around us will either begin to also change or they will leave to make room for those who reflect our healing positive changes.

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