We all need feedback and reflection sometimes from a good friend about some stuff we are going through on a personal level because there is only so much self-work you can do by “yourself”. We all have blind spots and can’t see ourselves fully objectively. Most unconscious stuff only comes up in relationship (not just the romantic kind).
Compassionate mirroring is especially needed in a “conscious relationship” with an intimate partner which goes way beyond just enjoying “romance”. I’m very grateful to my partner Laura that we are able to hold space for each other that way and dive deep with compassion, love and emotional vulnerability in a safe/sacred container, never forgetting/losing the connection to the Divine/the true self. It is the most important foundation in a “conscious” relationship where unconscious stuff tends to come up, ironically – brought to light – which is the whole point of a “conscious” relationship. It’s like an alchemical catalyst that heals both partners and strengthens the relationship via transmuting it into “higher” expressions of love each time and the bond grows stronger.
However, what is also needed is a strong foundation of collinearity beyond mutual “interests” or “personality traits” but a spiritual foundation where both people “look into the same direction” with a common aim. It also all depends on both partner’s level of being and how each person is SINCERELY engaged in their own self-work as individuals and the work they have already done in the past.
“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It is important that the other person (friends, partner) we confide in and ask for feedback is also sincerely engaged in the same work with a basic understanding of psychology and archetypal relationship dynamics (not just the romantic kind), such as shadow projection, childhood wounding (everyone is wounded to one degree of another because no one had perfect parents that were 100% available all the time attending to your needs) and how childhood wounding affects the present unconsciously.
Other factors come in as well, such as occult interferences, psychic attacks, related to the “topic of all topics”. But the basic foundation is the deeper inner work, because occult entities work through our wounding, blind spots and ego hooks which they feed off of. This is the Archonic/Wetiko alien infection (Paul Levy), Castaneda’s predator, Sri Aurobindo’s occult hostile forces or the General Law in the esoteric christian tradition, etc., trying to keep us plugged into the Matrix. We cut off their food source through sincere self-work and not becoming slaves to our emotional mechanical reactions and triggers. It’s also important to establish the inner witness in order to observe ourselves. This is a very different state then “getting into ones head”. It’s about being present on all levels, body, mind, emotion, and spirit. A trusted friend/partner can help us with that.
If we confide in or seek feedback from someone who is not engaged in sincere self-work and doesn’t understand basic psychology or how occult forces “operate” and influence us, then the feedback we receive might only strengthen our false self, the buffers with all the ego-mind’s justifications or they may put us down via shadow projections. Everyone wants to feel good, but sincere self-work is a destructive process. It entails confronting all the lies we’ve been telling ourselves, our wounds we have buffered up, our entitlement of what we think we want and need from others, our expectations, etc. Diving deep into the self can be very disturbing and challenging, causing physical and emotional pain, especially when we receive mirrors from others that point out issues in ourselves we never really saw before. But the person giving the mirror needs to be aware of the issue of projection, so the mirror is not a disguised shadow projection, hence, again, we need someone who has this understanding and is SINCERELY engaged in the work him/herself. But most importantly is for us to look into the mirror ourselves and ask: How sincere am I?
In order to do self-work we also need to know HOW to do it and that entails study and reading as well. Our mind and emotions can fool us so much. There is no way we can just “feel”, “meditate” or “think” ourselves through it without knowledge of how to do self-work, be it esoteric or psychological knowledge. We may get glimpses of insights here and there, but we can still fool ourselves without being aware of it if we don’t have a “higher context”, over-estimating ourselves in the process, even possibly engaging in spiritual bypassing. Moreover, knowledge needs to be applied. We all can have great insights and get inspired when we are reading some spiritual/psychological quotes/books when we are in a good place/space, but when the rubber hits the road and stuff comes up we sometimes tend to forget what we just learned and almost regress to the wounded child and the false personality and we literally forget ourselves – our true self. Again, a trusted friend/partner can help us stay “on track”, like being “alarm clocks” to each other as Gurdjieff said.
So, receiving feedback from others can make things better or worse. Many factors come on. If it makes us feel better, it does not necessarily mean that the feedback is true, but can feed our neurotic narcissistic ego, bypassing what needs to be confronted. Likewise if the feedback we get hurts something in us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is not true or that the other person is trying to hurt us. We have an astonishing ability to fool ourselves, lie to ourselves and feel justified in our “likes” and “dislikes” hardly questioning what “I” is speaking at any given moment, the true self or the conditioned/wounded self. Shocks and disillusionment are part of the process.
Obviously positive re-enforcement and encouraging the other person is very much needed as well, if it comes from a sincere place. Not all mirrors are about pointing out our “wounded” blindspots but also about bringing to light the other person’s soul-embodied power, joy, talents and inspirations – to truly SEE the other person. The work never stops either but all there is are lessons. There is also no end to love.
Read more about relationships on Bernhard’s website, Piercing the Veil of Reality.