Photo by Roberto Delgado Webb on Unsplash

by Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC

“The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you.” ~ Rumi

We are drawn to certain people for a multitude of reasons. One magical reason is that we see special traits or characteristics in others that we can’t quite yet embrace within ourselves. We are attracted because we sense new possibilities for ourselves in that other person. Maybe it’s the way a friend speaks openly and directly when you’re inclined to go undercover with your thoughts. Maybe it’s a friend’s wildly creative talents that you admire when you are not yet able to put your creative genius to work. Perhaps it’s another’s ability to experience pure, unbounded pleasure and joy, feelings you tend to carefully control and keep tightly under wraps. Consider this. What is appreciated outside might also be inside — of you! Your inner gold, so to speak, needing to be mined. Your magnificent, sparkling, twenty-four karat self.

When any of my coaching clients become infatuated with, intrigued by, or really curious about someone special in their world, I always recommend that they “turn around.” I suggest they consider the possibility that they, too, hold characteristics identical to what they are drawn to in their chosen one. Most are pleasantly surprised and empowered by this discovery. Imagine that? In the glory of the other, we find ourselves! Now that is a turnaround. Time to give yourself one big, extraordinary hug!

When we look deeply into another person, attending closely, we discover, time and time again, key aspects ourselves — aspects we are not yet able to step into, bring forward or hold on to. The words “not yet” are key here. Sometimes, I believe we actually subconsciously ask others to carry for us what we are still hesitant to embrace. Issues of self-worth, questions about deservedness, or conflicts about standing in one’s strengths or being successful can run interference with a person embracing positive parts of themselves. Helping my coaching clients clear these types of barriers and obstacles so they can share their divine, exquisite golden traits and abilities with the world makes up a large portion of the work I do.

So ask yourself, what unique traits stand out when you are drawn to someone? These attributes probably reflect your own capacities, depths, or potential yet to be uncovered, developed, or consciously appreciated. What do you value about a beloved that you can’t treasure or even see in yourself? Ah, yes, the “turn around” always awakens you to elements of your own divine essence and to coming home to parts of yourself. So experiment with this idea, and try to appreciate that the sweet, beautiful aura of another might also be a glorious reflection of yourself.

Just as we can project onto someone else negative aspects of ourselves (so-called shadow parts, parts we can’t quite assimilate within our being), we also do this with positive aspects of our being. It can be frightening to know your greatness, and therefore easier to recognize it first outside yourself in a friend, colleague, or beloved. If we hang out long enough with these brilliant beings, maybe an exchange of gold happens. When coaching clients, one of the quickest ways I help a person step into their strength and true essence is to point out the wisdom of their choice of a tribe or inner circle. We surround ourselves with the grace of those holding golden energy when we are longing to awaken our own.

What a mysterious process it is this work of being human. So much of our growth occurs in relationships with others. Wired for connection, we do just that — connect. As we connect, love, and care about others, we are also trying to love and care for ourselves. There is great restorative power in the recognition of our own potential as we appreciate another’s. In the presence of another, we find ourselves!

Author Katherine Woodward Thomas speaks of how our relationships with others are a mirror to our relationship with ourselves. Consider holding up a mirror regularly! If you are overflowing with love for another, mirror it back, and ask “And how am I loving myself?” Or perhaps you are a really great listener, and pride yourself in offering yourself this way to others. Equally important is the job of checking in with yourself, asking “And what do I hear when I listen to myself?” The mirroring principle, when practiced regularly, is profoundly powerful. Doing this type of turning around and checking in with ourselves prevents us from self-abandoning, or neglecting to consider our own growth and personal development. We care tremendously about those close to us, so why not also channel some of that love right back toward yourself, asking yourself lovingly, “Sweetheart, what is it that you need or long for right now?”

This mirroring works for negative moments as well. If you feel a friend is being inattentive and is distracted, for instance, check in the mirror and consider, “How am I not attending to myself at this moment?” You might realize that you need to honor to yourself and end the conversation because it is no longer serving you. Or perhaps you bump up against meanness or rudeness. Time to check in with yourself and ponder whether your own heart may have grown cold or harsher for an instant. I can’t tell you how powerful this practice is for me. I use it as a daily tool to reset my ways. It is truly transformative when we can turn back to ourselves and ask these kinds of questions.

All we ever have any control over is how we attend to and work with ourselves. So why not use the presence of the other, however they are showing up — positively or negatively — and turn your reaction to them into fertile ground for growing your own beautiful, exquisite self? Do the turnaround! Place first attention on yourself. Doing so is not, as many might worry, a selfish endeavor; rather, it is essential to improving your own ways. Then you can gift yourself to others from a much better, golden place — and really feel your glow!

“We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.”  ~ Rumi



Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering
adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that
they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping
women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives
transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence!