Have you ever had one of those completely inexplicable reactions to someone? It’s completely visceral. You can’t explain why but every time you see that person you get a knot in your gut, your skin starts to crawl and your heart beats a little faster. The heart beats not in a “I’m so happy to see you” kind of way but more in the “if you don’t get away from me, I will cut your heart out with a spoon” kind of way.
No matter how hard you try, there is simply no way in this known universe that this is a person you want around. Not in any universe – not even in a galaxy far, far away – is this going to be someone you could ever tolerate for more than a few minutes at a time.
This doesn’t happen to me very often so when it does, I have learned to take note. Like many humans, I accept people at face value. Blessed as I am with the cock-eyed optimism of the positive thinker, I see the good in everyone. This attribute is fantastic when it all works out. I have watched spellbound as people who have never seen themselves in a certain way, lift to become their highest version, simply by seeing themselves through someone else’s eyes. This is without doubt, one of the best things about being a parent and certainly the greatest joy I have found in undertaking leadership roles during my professional life.
On the flip side of course, this optimism has produced bitter disappointments when people have let me down badly. It led to significant head scratching, teeth gnashing and soul searching. Thankfully, from the seething pits of despair, the lessons were found and I learnt something from each and every one of these difficult souls who present themselves to me. My friend, Kym Lincolne, coach and mentor extraordinaire, and owner of an awesome business called The Field (www.thefield.com.au) once remarked to me that the universe sends these people to you as a mirror so that you can learn something wildly important about yourself. Her advice, which is always spot on, was to say “thank you” to the universe. In practising the art of gratitude, a very important reflection about yourself will undoubtedly emerge.
So, as I find myself dragging my developing self through this temporary break in transmission (AKA empty nest syndrome – more on that another day), the universe in its infinite wisdom, has sent me just such a mirror. As is my way, I have turned this over and over in my mind without coming to any particular resolution. It was driving me mad! Why couldn’t I figure this out?? My head was doing somersaults trying to work out why I truly could not stand the sight of this person. Just as I was about to give in, I remembered Kym’s words about gratitude.
So what was any sane person to do?
Yep, I surrendered.
Throwing my hands up in a gesture of peace and acceptance, I heard myself say thank you to the universe for sending this person my way and, right on cue, that beautiful moment of clarity occurred. I realised this was nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. My sense of self-worth, my changing circumstances, my development into the next version of me.
As the realisation became stronger and I stared into the mirror, a beautiful thing happened. My whole being breathed a sigh of profound relief and that person stopped being a source of annoyance to me. They no longer made me feel uncomfortable; they no longer challenged me; they no longer held dominion over my head and my heart. They became white noise in the background that was to be mindfully accepted and promptly forgotten.
In a spirit of silent sincerity, I thanked them for their contribution to my evolution, shelved my antipathy towards them and let go.