“The trouble with you Michael” I said, which is not the best opening line for a conversation designed to deepen a relationship, “is that you remind me of me”. Taking his cue from me, Michael (not his real name by the way) replied, “The trouble with you, Geoff, is that you remind me of me”.
None of this would be a problem, of course, if Michael and I did not keep clashing at work. He just irritated me, and I irritated him.
The reasons for our mutual irritation were these very reminders we were discussing. When I looked at him, I saw reminders of me and vice versa.
None of that would be a problem, of course, if those things we were seeing sat completely comfortably in our own souls, but they did not.
I saw all his strategies for getting his own way, his method of moving discussions in his favour, his techniques for winning arguments and his approaches to getting groups to make the decisions he wanted. I could see them because they were the same as mine.
One group of people who are very likely to provoke you to anger at work or anywhere else are those who are similar to you. Like magnets, the opposites attract but the same poles repel.
The face in the mirror or perhaps the mirror in the face, is the third face of anger and therefore a source of possible stress in your week.
This anger is both a reflection and an expression. You see yourself reflected in someone else, but you express your anger because you are also somewhat angry at yourself for having those characteristics at all. It is an expression of inner conflict. The third dynamic that kicks in is the fact that the person, like Michael for me, exposes and outs your tactics which means you are unmasked.
Michael and I proceeded to have a creative conversation in which we listened to each other and found our way to a better relationship. What we were also doing, perhaps without realizing it, was creating a better peace within ourselves and coming to terms with our own characters.
In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus of Nazareth speaks about trying to remove a small speck of sawdust from someone else’s eye (something he would have done many times in his carpentry shop) while being blind to the large piece of wood in your own eye! So much stress is generated in the encounter of this mirror that you see in the face of another, when the time would be better spent addressing the chunks of character traits which create conflict inside of us.
Michael passed away a few years ago and I mourned for a man who I came to admire and respect and who doesn’t generate reminders but who leaves good memories in my soul.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock May 2019
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
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