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Everyone in Your Life Is You

 “You validate people’s lives by your attention.” ~Unknown

When my husband and I lived in New Providence, the capital island of the Bahamas, we rented a charming wooden cottage with a sweeping vista of the ocean from a sweet, elderly man who was 88 years old.

Our landlord Leslie lived alone in an elegant house next door to our cottage and I made it a habit to visit him each day, after arriving home from teaching at a local high school.

Leslie was lonely and my heart would ache for him. Having lost his wife a few years earlier, he was a sad, wistful figure, who would spend the day sitting with the front door open, gazing out at traffic and wondering where all his friends had gone.

While I felt sorry for his situation, I was acutely aware of why people had stopped coming by. Leslie could barely hear a word anyone said and, as a consequence, my visits would consist of raising my voice to the highest level possible, which would leave me hoarse and physically drained.

One afternoon after making tea and settling down to attempt to communicate, Leslie started by labeling himself “a silly old fool” and then related an incident I will never forget.

Over the years I have recalled it many times as a way of highlighting the importance of being attentive and present.

As the story goes, Leslie flew to Grand Bahama Island to spend the weekend with his son Derek. When it was time to leave, Derek took Leslie back to the airport, checked him in, and said goodbye.

In the departure area, Leslie was unable to fully hear an announcement. Rather than making inquiries, Leslie followed a group of people moving toward the gate and, relying on a steward to correctly check his ticket, he boarded the plane.

However, much to his acute embarrassment and dismay, Leslie later realized the plane was touching down in Miami, rather than New Providence.

At different times in my life, I have been each character in this story, deaf to what others have been trying to tell me, unable to articulate my needs, and woefully inattentive and distracted.

The source of these common issues begins in childhood. When we are born into families where those closest to us are not “present,” we become accustomed to being unacknowledged, and in turn we do not know how to be attentive to those around us.

As a consequence, we find it difficult to be ourselves and impossible to express our needs authentically.

The pain of feeling unheard and by extension “unseen” runs very deep in our psyche.  It represents lost aspects that we keep trying to find.

In support of our search and unspoken desires, we project our needs onto everyone around us, thinking they should intuitively “know” what we want, which is particularly problematic in personal relationships and is high on the list of why so many marriages fail.

By contrast, when we are in alignment with our truth, those needs dissolve. Instead we can be present and attentive to others, serving to empower them in finding their own authentic voice.

Then they are able to validate themselves and validate their lives in a way that is enriching and purposeful.

For example, I have adopted a simple practice while teaching art to teenage students.

I begin each session by silently inviting them into presence. Then, welcoming them as they come through the door, I acknowledge new hairstyles or clothes and once settled, ask questions such as:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Are there any concerns or anxieties?
  • Which emotions are coming up today?

This inquiry brings the students out of the “mental quadrant” and into the intuitive, emotional quadrant, the doorway to the higher self.

Then through learning how to embrace this feeling quality, the students slowly learn to trust their inner guidance and access the courage to express who they are in a way that is authentic and meaningful.

As a consequence, I have been happily able to bear witness to amazingly deep and sensitive art work.

Grappling with powerful and emotive themes, the students are then armed with the courage to explore the hidden messages of the psyche, leading them to uncover aspects of the higher self and journey into profound self discovery.

In paintings, wood-burning, and printmaking projects I am intrigued by shadowy figures, keys and doorways, lotus blossoms, and power animals waiting to spring into action.

And through these doorways, we are naturally led to engage in inspiring discussions on life, death, and purpose with the students accessing, acknowledging, and giving voice to their dreams, goals and visions.

Regardless of how young or old we may be, when we find our authentic voice we validate ourselves and we naturally validate others. Without even having to say anything, our state does the work.

We are inextricably woven together. I reflect you. You reflect me.

When we understand this, we can be watchful about where we are, in response to where our attention is and engage in self-inquiry. We can ask:

  • Am I honoring all aspects of my life?
  • If not, what is out of balance?
  • Am I giving everyone in my world the gift of attention?
  • If not, why am I distracted?
  • Is there something or someone calling out for healing and validation?

When we have the courage to be present and attentive, we are inviting healing into our lives and into the world at large. In this way, we can be vigilant and ready to enlighten ourselves to the consciousness of unity, no matter how it appears.

Whether it manifests as disharmony in a relationship or discontent at school or work, we can learn to accept what is and honor and love it all.

Ultimately, everything and everyone is here to reflect where we are in or out of balance and to bring us back to the truth that at the core of who we are, we are one.

In this way, when you honor and validate your life and your world, you honor and validate me. And the reverse is true.

When I commit to being present and being attentive, I am living with the awareness of unity consciousness, which ensures I am living as an embodiment of freedom and so are you.

Photo by peasap

About Julie Hoyle

Julie Hoyle is a spiritual teacher, natural intuitive and trans-personal hypnotherapist. Her profound spiritual awakening is detailed in her eBook, An Awakened Life- A Journey of Transformation. She offers online courses, soul purpose readings, and energy retrieval at: www.truealignment.org. 

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  • Melisa

    Oh my! This brought tears to my eyes. I wonder how this blog manages to touch me every single time. 

    I am going through a rough time with a friend that is going through a rough time herself.  She has asked me explicitly to leave her deal with her issues alone, to give her space, to have patience…I understand her need to feel independent and try to solve her problems, but I’m not 100% sure how am I supposed to leave her alone without abandonment…So is tough to find a balance and that is what is giving me a rough time. I don’t want to be too intrusive so that she completely shuts me down, but I don’t want to be too disconnected either so that she feels I have left.And now I read this post about being present and attentive…

    I really appreciate everyone’s contribution to this beautiful site. We are, after all, ONE 🙂

  • Grace

    Wow, wow, wow. Ohhh – thank you.

  • Namaste … the joy of life is “meeting ourselves” and responding with love as often as possible.  🙂  Thank you for this sweet reminder today.

  • Truealignment

    Namaste Grace and thank you! You are very welcome. When we share from the heart we connect with our own power and authenticity. OM! and Blessings, Julie

  • Truealignment

    Melisa namaste and thank you for bringing up an often challenging issue. When we are respectful of a person’s need to withdraw and do their own inner work, we are actually creating a beautiful, safe space for them. And when we send loving, light-filled thoughts rather than worrying, ‘Will they be ok?’ we are a big and powerful part of the healing process. Your friend is no doubt feeling deeply supported and cared for by you and she will let you know when she is ready to share.

    Every blessing,

    Julie Hoyle

  • Truealignment

    Namaste and thank you! I appreciate meeting you in this way. You are me and I am you in another alluring disguise.

    OM and Hugs,

    julie

  • What a great gift you give to your students.  To share with them that life is reflecting who they are, be it through people or events.

  • Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences regarding the reflective nature of our interactions with others. When I am willing to stop and reflect on the deeper cause of a disturbing interaction, I often find that [part of] it is due to my own projections onto the other person, reflecting right back at me.

    On an intellectual level, I am reminded of the concept of a “Looking Glass Self” (proposed by Charles Horton Cooley), and a quote that reflects this perspective:

    I am not what I think I am.
    I am not what you think I am.
    I am what I think you think I am.

    Interestingly, this quote – or a variation – is also attributed to Max Weber, George H. Meade, Robert H. Schuller, and Aaron Bleiberg & Harry Leubling … offering, perhaps, another example of reflection.

  • Ravulasr

    Namaste. I would try to ask these questions every day to know myself better. I will see if this would help me concentrate on the importing values I believe.

    Thanks for sharing such a great post.

  • I thought I’d posted a comment earlier?  I just wanted to say what a great gift you give your students.  The awareness that all in their life is a reflection, be it people or events.  Beautifully done.

  • Karebear

    thank you. very helpful 🙂

  • I wish you were my
    teacher when I was a teenager. I love how you bring them into their emotional
    self when they come in to your class. I personally need to recognize my
    emotional self more and get out of my head.

    You gave me great things
    to think about today. Thanks for that.

    Kari

  • Kristiana Jourgensen

    I absolutely love your  blog in a world of shallow junk all over the internet it is so refreshing.  I am writer myself and you are very inspiring.  I loved today’s post, it is so incredibly relevant to what I am going through right now and needed to hear.  You have validated me dear mirror. Namaste.

  • Lori

    This article really hit a cord with me.  Especially this passage:
    “The source of these common issues begins in childhood. When we are born into families where those closest to us are not “present,” we become accustomed to being unacknowledged, and in turn we do not know how to be attentive to those around us.
    As a consequence, we find it difficult to be ourselves and impossible to express our needs authentically.
    The pain of feeling unheard and by extension “unseen” runs very deep in our psyche.  It represents lost aspects that we keep trying to find.”

    There is so much truth and pain in that statement.  And also hope – for once you know that your needs and feelings are valid – and can articulate them (you see + feel them yourself) – then you can move towards a happier life and relationships.

  • Tinarose29

    really loved this article, thank you!!!

  • Melisa

    Namaste!. Thanks a lot Julie. That is exactly what I’m trying to do. Trying to be open and positive so that she knows there are no closed doors simply because there are no doors 🙂 and that she is welcomed whenever she wants.
    When she gets close, she is embraced…when she withdraws, she is free to do so.

    I have to admit that she has left a void, but I’m trying to fill it with positive things and happiness so there’s no space left for resentment or negative things 🙂

  • Ryan Lantzy

    Great post. So uplifting! Thank you

    Ryan Lantzy

  • Donna Boboch

    OMG! This is the BEST article about us humans and how to relate to each other, that I have ever read…Just incredible insights and understanding. BRAVO! Julie Hoyle! Do you have a book of yours that I can purchase!?!

  • Donna Boboch

    @Kari, I share your thoughts on this great and enlightening article by Julie Hoyle. Indeed, she gave us “great things to think about”… and not only for today…<3 to all who share themselves with us ALL. NAMASTE!

  • Donna Boboch

    BRAVO, Julie Hoyle! Love your very needed and honest response here to Melisa!! You are one of the most excellent of teachers, as I am getting to know you here; but you are also a most excellent psychologist and, what’s MOST important – a most excellent example of a human being…NAMASTE!

  • what a beautiful story and blog post Julie. I have trouble sometimes articulating my needs and misguidedly expecting others to “just know”. This a great reminder not only for how I relate to others but in how I relate to myself. Thank you!

  • Donna Boboch

    Indeed, Julie is giving her students the best gift in her profound sharing of “enlightening”.

  • Donna Boboch

    @Lori, I too, found this passage most meaningful and SOO true…as it is in childhood that we really learn to become what we are as adults. Julie has a great ability to write in a way that truly, as you put it: “hits a cord” with us all.

  • Truealignment

    Joe Namaste,

    Thanks for sharing. In a way, this quote is like a Koan. The beautiful thing about becoming conscious and taking responsibility for our projections is that we eventually become a clear and transparent mirror through which we reflect only light.

    Then the thinking mind becomes what the Buddhists call the Pure Mind or what is often referred to as Enlightenment, which is really a return to our true and authentic state.

    OM to THAT!

    Julie.

  • Truealignment

    Donna Namaste and thank you for your enthusiastic response. I appreciate you taking the time to leave comments.

    In answer to your question, yes I have written two Ebooks which are available through Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. You can also read free excerpts on my True Alignment website (with the link above in my author bio.) On the site, there are also other articles, as well as e-courses and archive issues of the free bi-monthly True Alignment Newsletter.

    Once again, many thanks,

    And Blessings,

    juliex

  • Kristie Visser

    Wow…this really resonates with me…I have always felt like I have wanted more attention from others and learnt to get it in very negative and self destructive ways all the while complaining that I was never truly heard by anyone.  It is only since embracing myself for who am I and accepting myself that I finally now feel like I don’t need anyone to validate me.  The biggest blessing with this transformation is that now I finally feel that I can become the person I always wanted to be and truly hear others instead of competing with them.  I find that my world has opened up and instead of being so caught up in my own emotion and pain I now see other’s cries for help and am able to be that attentive, supportive person for them.  I feel like I’m now beginning to align with my life purpose and what an amazing place to be…
    Thank you for such a thought-provoking article!

  • Truealignment

    Kristie, thank you for expressing your process so honestly and so beautifully. When we do the inner work of taking responsibility for everything we project onto others, we can be fully be present. We gift ourselves with an ability to be authentic and truly loving. Then we can offer the same gift to others.

    When we embrace the truth of who we are, it is truly amazing and life-changing.

    When we change, our entire world changes with it.

    OM! and Hugs,

    juliex

  • Donna Boboch

    WOW! Of course! You ARE an author!! How silly of me to even ask… I am quite new on my electronics, as I own only an IPad since last year. I will get sone help from my daughter about how to proceed with the connections and books you mention, Julie. Thank you so much for your reply! I can’t wait to learn ALL about you Julie. You are a most insightful person and writer, so my enthusiasm is real…

    I have shared this article with many of my FaceBook and EMail friends, and they loved it and shared it with others! You are a great person, teacher, and writer, Julie, so please keep on doing – what you are doing, okay?
    In your photo you look very young and pretty – did you start writing then…when you were very young?!

    With my <3 and admiration,
    Donna B.

  • Truealignment

    Donna thank you for your response and sweet words. I actually only started writing in 2007 after picking up a MBS magazine and hearing an inner voice telling me, “You can write like this in a way that inspires people.” At the time I was on a train traveling in Europe and I had nothing to write with, so I borrowed a pen and wrote down what I ‘heard’ on the back of a napkin. Later, I typed it up and sent it to the editor of the magazine I had been reading. It was accepted and in that moment my writing world began.

    As a preface to that, in 1989, I was graced with the most incredible spiritual awakening and really everything that has happened since is a direct result of that grace. This is why I write, to express the inexpressible and to share my profound mystical journey into the light.

    Thank you for asking!

    And Hugs,

    juliex

  • Donna Boboch

    WOW! JULIE! THAT IS JUST AMAZING AND INCREDIBLY SYNCHRONICAL…THERE REALLY ARE NO ACCIDENTS…I HAVE A BOOK BY PAUL COUSINEAU, CALLED:
    “SOUL MOMENTS – MARVELOUS STORIES OF SYNCHRONICITY – MEANINGFUL
    COINCIDENCES FROM A SEEMINGLY RANDOM WORLD.” ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH IT, JULIE? IT IS SIMPLY A PHENOMENAL BOOK. I HAVE GIVEN A COPY OF IT TO MY FAVORITE “SEARCHING” PEOPLE; AND LIKE YOUR WRITING HERE, I CAN’T STOP RECOMMENDING IT TO MORE AND MORE PEOPLE.

    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR MIRACULOUS BEGINNINGS AS A WRITER, WITH ME HERE, JULIE. YOU ARE PHENOMENAL IN EVERY WAY…
    MAY GOD ALWAYS BLESS YOU, AND THE FRUITS OF YOUR “LABORS OF LOVE”.

  • Truealignment

    Donna Namaste,

    And thank you for sharing the book. I am not familiar with it.

    However, when we awaken spiritually we come to realize that everything and everyone is woven together and connected in a web of love. Then life is filled with grace, miracles and the most beautiful flow of magical events.

    Although my personal searching has come to an end, I honor everyone who is working to reflect the light.

    And I appreciate and love your energy and enthusiasm! It’s beautiful,

    Hugs,

    Juliex

  • Donna Boboch

    NAMASTE, JULIE!

    THANK YOU! I FORGOT THAT YOU DON’T NEED ANY BOOKS…YOU WRITE THEM!
    IT IS INDEED, A BLESSING AND AN UNCANNY SYNCHRONICITY, THAT I MET YOU HERE AND SO, I REMEMBERED THE BOOK. I WILL BE “SEEING YOU” HERE,
    JULIE, AND YOU WILL HELP ME TO BECOME A BETTER PERSON, WHO
    “SHARES THE LIGHT”!

    GOD’S BLESSINGS AND LOVE,
    Donna B.

  • Truealignment

    Donna,

    Give up the idea of ‘becoming a better person.’ Just be your authentic self and live from the heart. That’s more than enough.

    You might also enjoy the article I posted in October titled,
    THE REAL MEASURE OF YOUR WEALTH (found in the WORK AND FULFILLMENT category) which speaks directly to loving and owning our innate gifts, skills and talents.

    Then we really shine!

    Om and hugs,

    juliex

  • Mary

    A great article which made me think a great deal. If everyone in our lives reflects us..i wonder then about those in our lives who are negative and unhealthy influences ….is it just that I/we havent found the courage to remove these people from our lives..or do they mirror something negative within ourselves?

  • Amber Gray

    I’m truly touched and this will allow me to address a disharmony in my relationship from a more compassionate viewpoint full of understanding rather than anger and accusations. Thank you.

  • Truealignment

     Mary, thank you for your question. A very important aspect of this work is becoming aware of when a ‘negative’ person triggers a reaction from us. If they do, then we can be sure that there is negativity within us, which we have not taken ownership of.

    If on the other hand, we are able to remain centered and respond with compassion, then the behavior is not ‘ours’. Instead of reacting we can offer compassion and be loving. In this way, we are offering another alternative which can serve to wake a person up to another alternative.

    Also, we always have choices. If someone is a drain on our energy we can limit exposure or get out of the way. Sometimes this is not so easy when the person is a family member. However, he or she can act as an amazing teacher.

    The Dalia Lama once said that his greatest teachers were the Chinese invaders, from them he had to learn compassion, patience and forgiveness.

    Everyone and everything has many lessons to teach if and we have the courage to look, listen and take responsibility.

    Blessings,

    julie

  • Madhu

    I just per chance clicked and found it very interesting and reassuring… Hope my search of my quest will be quenched.

  • So true. Yogi Bhajan (the master of kundalini yoga) said to us “Recognise that the other person is you.”