What you feel about someone else can be a mirror of how you feel about yourself. This isn’t something we want to believe all the time, but consider some of the most super-charged emotions you experience about other people, and you’ll always discover something about yourself.
Think about someone you really admire … you admire them because they have traits you want to cultivate in yourself.
Think about someone you’re really jealous of … you’re jealous because they have something that feels important to you.
Think about someone you can’t stand … you might dislike them because they’re displaying a quality of yourself that you’re not proud of (and maybe don’t even want to admit), or because their values are so opposite of yours that it sparks within you an inherent urge to defend your values and choices.
Think about someone you pity … you could feel pity because you have a fear of ending up in their position.
Think about the person you love most … part of the reason you love them is because they share common qualities with you; qualities that you love about yourself.
We view everyone in our lives through our personal lens of interpretation, which has been finely adjusted by a lifetime of unique experiences and interactions. So when you feel a strong emotion about another person, it’s because they’re triggering you in one way or another — positive or negative, “good” or “bad.”
The fact that you feel any emotion at all means you recognize something in that person. Think about it — when you meet someone who you don’t relate to at all, you usually feel completely neutral about them.
So instead of judging others for being “better” or “worse” than you, how can you step back and realize that your judgment is just a reflection of your beliefs about yourself?
This isn’t an invitation to shift that judgment onto yourself — it’s just about building self-awareness. Remember, every situation and encounter is an opportunity to learn something new about YOU. And if another person shines a light on some quality in yourself that no longer suits you, you can consciously choose to think or act in a new way.