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At some point in your life I’m sure you’ve experienced someone saying something awful about you. It doesn’t feel very good. The good news is your family-friend circle is not as large as, let’s say, the whole world possibly saying something awful about you. Let me tell you, it’s pretty daunting to have it happen to you.
“Haters will be haters” is a phrase coined by the youngsters of our generation. The majority of haters can be seen on comment board postings.
When I visit a website or check out an online photo, I sometimes scroll down to see what people are saying. Time and time again I see these souls who use their time and words to crucify people. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy constructive criticism and discussions of different viewpoints. But commenting on a picture of a pregnant woman and saying, “She looks like a disgusting pig and her baby will probably come out retarded” is not necessarily my idea of constructive criticism.
In 20 years in the public eye, I have grown some pretty thick skin. Not much can penetrate anymore — but it used to. I would read comments and get sick to my stomach. I would be scared for my life because of the threats I would get. So I decided to do some spiritual soul searching to learn how to deal with a negative vortex that I know will never stop, and funnily enough, the search led to my own spiritual evolution.
I learned about something called “projected identification.” This is the medical term that shrinks use to explain why people say mean things. According to this theory, when you feel bad about yourself and you don’t know what to do with it, you project it on to other people so you’re able to see it. I’m sure you’ve heard some guru say, “Everyone in your life is your mirror.” This is one of the best laws of the universe. When you say something negative, you are talking about yourself. When you say something positive, you are talking about yourself. Whatever emotions you’re experiencing in your own life, that’s exactly how you view the world. Love yourself and you love what you see. Hate yourself and you hate what you see.
I decided to test the theory years ago and be as aware as I possibly could during my own emotional upsets. I was amazed to find out that when I was depressed, I would say things to people in my life that weren’t very nice. If I was angry, I was shocked to hear myself project it to whoever was in the house. Once I became aware of this theory, I knew there was no turning back. From that point on, any time I felt an urge to be negative towards someone I would stop before it came out of my mouth and look at what pain was going on inside of ME. Why was I sad? Why was I mad? I needed to heal me.
Now when people approach me and give me compliments, I smile. Not because they are saying nice things about me, but because they are loving themselves in their own lives, and its so sweet to witness. When people come up to me and say mean things, I become sad. Not because what they’re saying is mean, but because I know they’re hating themselves somewhere in their lives right now and I’m their mirror.
This week, if you can, try to be awake to your emotions and conscious of what you say to people. Watch the people around you, and notice if they are having a bad day what or whom they might project it on. If it happens to be you don’t get upset. Remember that we are each other’s mirrors, so try to have empathy for the pain that person is going through, and hope that your next mirror will have the same patience and empathy for you.
Send your questions to Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org