“Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed.”

–Jiddu Krishnamurti

I happened upon the Wikipedia page for Jiddu Krishnamurti who, although he held no association with any philosophy or religion, is regarded as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. Of course, I know that “happening upon” is really how the Universe holds my hand to lead me, like a mother guiding her child safely across the street. And, like a child, I am always asking my higher power to show me more — which is why I knew Krishnamurti was a teaching for me.

“What am I to do with this?” I asked rhetorically to the collective.

“Consider it for yourself and then share it, of course!” was the response.

In my more than half a century of life, I’ve come to better understand my relationship with my higher power, my inner divine, the Universal collective. I know that the words shadowing me are the ones I need to consider most deeply. So although Krishnamurti has many such teachings that pique my curiosity, it is the one on our relationships that haunts me. Hence, it is the one I have pondered exclusively.

Now, dear Bravehearts, I ask you to do the same.

The quote begs the question, if relationships are the mirror in which the self is revealed, what do our relationships say about us? If you are like me, the answer may not come right away. After all, we have many relationships to consider, and this takes time for reflection. 

Exercise for Reflection

To make the exercise more systematic, I’ve outlined a suggested format for you to follow. Here’s how it works:

1) Think about the primary relationships in your life. These are the people who have a significant influence on your thoughts and feelings. These are the people with whom you can be most authentic and true. Whether friends, colleagues, or family, consider those with whom you feel most connected.

2) Make a list of these relationships in any order. As you jot down each name, consider the following question: what do you receive from the relationship? Note the answer to the side of each name.

3) Once your list is complete, go back and prioritize it by placing the most influential relationships first. If you have more than five people listed, for the sake of simplicity, focus on the top five.

4) Looking at the top five relationships, is there a theme to the question of what you receive from these relationships or do they provide a vast array of emotional outlets?

5) Finally, one relationship at a time, consider the following: what does this person signify to me? What you see in them is a reflection of what you see (or seek) within yourself. Jot down your biggest takeaways and sit with them for awhile.

Takeaway

As I did this exercise, my biggest takeaways were that there are very few people who exert a significant influence on my thoughts and feelings. But for those who do, the themes I saw emerging were those of self-expression and self-development. As for my reflection? I see an explorer of life, a seeker of knowledge and experiences. The best news of all? I like what I see, and I love — truly love — those who provide this thoughtful reflection of my inner self.

What have you learned about yourself, Braveheart?

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