When we were hiking in Colorado a few weeks ago I was mesmerized by the reflections in the lakes of the mountains, trees, and clouds. I took many, many pictures and have taken time to reflect (cheesy, I know, but it’s true) about what my fascination with reflections was all about.

The obvious answer is that they are pretty, well actually stunning. I like how they look and find it really interesting to see both images – the actual one and the reflected one. You get to see two versions of the same image. Sometimes looking at a photograph you can’t quite tell which way is up. And, for the most part it doesn’t really matter.

So, how does that apply to real life? One way is how we create stories (this would be the reflection part) about events (the actual image part). How many times do you have an experience with someone and then assume what the other person is thinking by their response. I will give an example from my life. When I ask John how he’s doing and he replies “fine” I automatically try to read something into his response. My judgment is that “fine” means “I don’t really want to talk about it.” To me, fine means things aren’t really great. To him, fine means fine with no hidden agenda to it. So my reaction to his response of “fine” is like a reflection in the water. It represents his response, but isn’t complete and real.

The other thing about reflections is that they are transitory. If the water is still, the reflection is almost an exact representation of what you see. If there is a breeze and there are ripples on the water, the reflection is distorted. Where we get into trouble is when we assume our story (the reflection) is true. Over the years I have heard may tellings of relationships that have gone awry because people haven’t checked with the other person to see if their interpretation of events is in fact accurate.

Some of this has to do with Life Energies. Someone with Truth life energy is more likely to want to think about what someone has said ¬†before coming to a conclusion. Someone with Aliveness life energy will likely interpret that reaction as the other person withdrawing and not wanting to “hash is out.” Someone with Workability life energy may want to sit down and dissect what is going on and find a solution. If your life energy is different than the other person’s it will be vital to recognize those inherent differences as you approach potential conflict.

So, in life there are many truths and many ways to see the same thing. How can you begin to recognize when you cling to an interpretation of an event which may or may not be accurate for the other person? What steps could you take to check out what they are actually thinking?

And, on a lighter note, here is the story behing the second picture above. I was standing on the shore trying to take my picture and there were some people standing near. There was a rock only a foot or so from shore that I could step on the take my picture. Not a bit deal, not far and should be easy. Well, the one thing I didn’t account for was that the rock was tippy. So, when I stepped on it I lost my balance and stepped into the muddy water. Muddy shoe, wet foot, wet sock, but I got my picture! And, it was a nice day so it didn’t take too long for my foot to dry out. We had a good chuckle over my mishap and went on with our day. I didn’t spend any amount of time reflecting on that – it was a simple event!

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