For the past ten years, I have been teaching a principle of self-reflection that unlocks unconscious and limiting belief systems. This principle essentially states that the world you perceive is a reflection of who you are. In other words, if you are having problems in the world, or with the people in it, you are seeing a reflection of a corresponding problem inside yourself. Moreover, if you keep trying to improve your life on the outside without bothering to expand your limitations on the inside, you will keep encountering the same problems-problems that will not go away until you adjust and correct the corresponding problems from within.
In order to put this principle into action, you need to start paying attention to language. I usually ask my students to listen to what others say before I ask them to listen to what they themselves say. I have found that people need to understand and believe in this principle by seeing how well it helps them to understand others before they can trust it enough to use it on themselves.
I often ask them to listen in on a conversation at Starbucks, or watch their favorite reality television show, and keep a list of what people say that strikes them as particularly closed minded. Later in class, we discuss how what they've heard might reflect the speaker's belief system, and how that belief system might be influencing the speaker's behavior, and how that behavior might be influencing the speaker's reality. Let me give you a few examples of how reflection works, so you can go out and discover the power of this principle for yourself.
Example one: One of my students overheard another of his teachers complaining about a student, calling the student “a troublemaker. " The class reflected and concluded that the teacher had trouble dealing with the student. The problem was not the student, but the teacher who had run out of techniques for empowering and focusing the student.
Example two: One of my students overheard a co-worker complaining about being given a warning by his boss. This co-worked had said, “I'm already doing the best I can. " The class reflected and came to realize that the co-worker had run out of ideas for improvement; he felt stuck and hopeless. What he had been doing had not been working, but he did not think he had it in him to find another way of doing things. He did not even realize that there might be another way.
Example three: One of my students realized that she had been saying, “I've tried everything, " for years. Upon reflection, she realized that because she believed that she had already tried everything, she'd also stopped looking for new things to try. And so, in her reality, she really had tried everything. It was after that realization that she began to ask the class for new alternatives, processes, and possibilities.
The true power of reflection begins when we use its principle on our own limited perspectives and language. When you learn to use the power of reflection, you will begin to realize that what people say about you is never about you. What people say about you is always about them and how they perceive their world. More importantly, what you say about others is never about them. What you say about others is always about you and how you perceive your world. Once you begin to understand and incorporate this principle into your relationships and reactions, many of your “problems" will redefine themselves and eventually disappear.
I like to tell my students that the power of reflection can help them to spot their leaks. . .
Copyright Lynn Marie Sager 2008
You can find much more about this topic on Navigating Life's website. Simply go to http://www.navigatinglife.org/ and click through to Rule Three: The Power of Reflection for more examples, tables, and insights
Lynn Marie Sager has toured over two-dozen countries and worked on three continents. Author of A River Worth Riding: Fourteen Rules for Navigating Life, Lynn currently lives in California; where she fills her time with private coaching, public speaking, and teaching for the LACCD and Pierce College. She runs the Navigating Life website, where she offers free assistance to readers who wish to incorporate the rules of worthwhile living into their lives. To read more about how you can use these rules to improve your life, visit Lynn's website at http://www.navigatinglife.org