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The Uncomfortable Mirror

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By insolence the heedless make strife, but wisdom is with those who take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

Have you ever been around someone who just rubbed you wrong? The words they say, the body language, it all just gets under your skin. What is really frustrating is that you are probably not able to explain your feelings. There is a reason why. The things we hate most in other people are the things we dislike most about ourselves. We hate having our shortcomings reflected back to us. That is humbling.

Brianna Wiest, in her article, “Why You Aggressively Dislike People Who Are Most Like You,” shares, “When other people mirror our unconscious behaviors, they show us a part of ourselves we are sometimes not ready to see.” The vast majority of us do not wish to become self-aware. Self-awareness is uncomfortable. If we are emotionally intelligent, we are humbled and feel compelled to learn more about ourselves. If we are emotionally immature, we feel only shame and resentment.

Wiest continues, “The frustration you feel is simply a reflection of your own maligned behaviors and intents.” Having the courage to face these behaviors and intentions provides a way through shame and bitterness. When we recognize them in ourselves and others, we can choose what to affirm and what to change within ourselves. It frees us from being imprisoned by our emotions.

Today, prayerfully reflect on those individuals who push your buttons. Pray for them, and ask God to give you a little more patience. Then, do the challenging work of reflecting on why they push your buttons, and if you are seeing a part of yourself in them. Ask God to guide your reflections in a non-anxious manner. Allow the thoughts to be information rather than sheer emotion. Don’t allow shame and resentment room in your thoughts. Soon, your emotional maturity increases and faith deepens. It is nice when people are no longer setting us off. The mirror is no longer something to be feared.