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If they can see it in you and label it, but you can't see it, it's not in you.
If you can see it in them and label it, but they can't see it, it's not in them.
If you both can see and label it, it's in both of you...good or bad
The Fifth Law of Karma is the Law of Mirrors. It has two distinct parts. Overall, it’s the Law of Personal Responsibility.
The first part of this Law is that:
If we can label a quality in another person, then it means that quality is also within us.
This can be good or bad news!
Think of the people you know, and think of or make a list of the qualities you would say they have. Be honest. This is just an exercise for you.
Some people, you may describe as kind, generous, thoughtful, or others you may say are arrogant, self-centered, or inconsiderate. All of the qualities on your list are also in you. This is at first difficult to believe, as when we’re calling someone arrogant, we certainly don’t think we are, too.
Whatever you believe about someone, they probably also believe about you.
Have you ever been told you were so thoughtful by someone who you believe is very thoughtful? Have you ever been called controlling by someone who you believe is controlling? Or insecure by someone you think is insecure?
In all of those cases, you’re both right.
This isn’t an article intending to insult anyone or make anyone go on the defensive. This is an amazing shift in awareness that allows you to see the truth about yourself, as well as free you from other people’s perceptions that you cannot change. It’s a tool to help you make improvements where necessary, and also see what great qualities you have that you may not even realize.
A mirror will not show your beautiful hair if you do not have beautiful hair. It will not show your large feet if you do not have large feet. It will not show any negative qualities that you yourself do not have, and will not show any positive qualities that you do not have, either.
This Law, when fully understood, also can also really help you understand why some people act the way they do.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, a person you just met or even an old friend or family member, and you seem to be speaking two different languages? Maybe they suddenly get angry or accuse you of something or insult you, and you’re totally taken off guard and shocked.
This is what happens when two mirrors do not reflect the same things. If they have within them something that you do not have, they see it in you even though it’s just not there.
If you truly do not have it, you do not see it in them, yourself, or anyone else, because it doesn’t exist in you.
When this attack happens, it’s a really jarring experience. You may try to even clarify what you meant by something, but they still can only see what’s being reflected back to them.
You may then ask another friend what they think of what’s happened, in an attempt to try to figure it out for yourself. If that friend immediately says, “Oh, she’s so…” but if that friend recognized it, it means he or she also has that negative quality.
You may still not see it, and say, “I don’t think so…” no matter how certain they are.
Now, if that friend were also really confused as to why the first one blew up, then it means he or she does not have that quality either.
There is a danger in being close to someone who has negative qualities that you do not possess. The danger lies in your taking their blow ups personally and feeling awful as a result. When we’re faced with something confusing like that from someone we love, it really hurts, and we sometimes internalize that pain. You don’t know why they’re so upset or angry, as you cannot see what they see, but you don’t want them to continue to be upset.
What you need to realize is that there is nothing YOU can do to remove that negative quality from them. You can’t even see it. It will be up to them to remove it from themselves. This may or may not happen in their entire lifetime.
If this is something that happens regularly, then you are setting yourself up for verbal abuse as long as you stay close to them. You can choose to put some distance between yourself and them, or if it happens weekly or even daily, you may even consider letting them go from your life.
By staying close to them and continually getting accused of negative qualities in your attempt to help them to not be upset, you may try so hard to understand and see what they are talking about, that you end up picking up some of those qualities. Then you would be able to clearly see those qualities everywhere you go, but it would also unfortunately mean that they’ve developed in you. This is not a good solution, and will decrease your overall happiness, and the happiness of everyone you contact.
Suddenly, you may see negative things in other people that they do not possess, but the qualities have become part of you, so you just see them everywhere.
Anger and confusion are actually your friends here. They indicate when there is a difference in mirrors.
For example, if you are always doing thoughtful things for someone, and they never do a thoughtful thing for you, you may not understand why and get a little angry about it. It means that consideration is just not in them.
If someone gets angry with you and you just don’t understand why, it means that whatever they are angry with you about is not the truth. It’s what they see in the world, so it’s true for them, but it’s just not in you.
Examples of this are:
- when someone is shy but gets accused of being arrogant
- when someone is outgoing but gets accused of being obnoxious
- when someone is kind but gets accused of “only” doing nice things for ulterior or selfish motives
If you can label it, it’s in you. If they can label it, it’s in them. If you both can label it, it’s in both of you, good and bad.
Remember, too, that we’re all walking our own path. While you may be tempted to convince someone that your acts were truly just thoughtful or kind, or you may be really hurt when they accuse you of something negative, you just can’t convince them that your motives were pure. It’s like two people speaking entirely different languages attempting to understand each other, or like a person who has sight getting frustrated with a person who is blind because they cannot see what they see.
Once you learn this Law, it really clarifies a lot of people’s seemingly odd behavior. It suddenly shows that their behavior makes total and perfect sense.
This is an excerpt from the book: Happiness in Your Life - Book One: Karma