Some 19 years ago, I had a girlfriend. I was 20 years old, and she was 16. She was my first girlfriend, so of course she was special. Later on, she inevitably became bored of my attentions. One day, she told me something I wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life: “Hasan, you didn’t love me. You loved the you that you saw in me…” I was speechless. I was so affected by these words that as you can see, I’m still recalling them and writing about them. There was a great awareness in this simple sentence, because she was so right. I loved the me that I had reflected onto her. I later realized it was not just me—all of us love or hate the parts of ourselves we see around us. Whatever we perceive, it’s all about us. If we love a woman madly and desire her with a great passion, it’s actually ourselves that we desire. We reflect the beauty we cannot see in ourselves onto other people and love them for it. If we don’t like, or even hate, a person, it’s because we see some part of ourselves that we’ve dismissed, hidden, or suppressed. We’ve reflected this part of ourselves onto that person.

It is only when we learn to embrace ourselves that we can become whole. As we become whole, we perceive more, and then our universe expands. Next, all the people that we have reflected ourselves onto slowly disappear from our lives, because they’ve fulfilled their mission. New people and experiences then appear that we can share our true selves with.

The act of reflecting gives way to reflection, so our consciousness shifts from reflecting ourselves to considering our own reflections.

Until then, let’s continue hugging our reflections.