By Mary J. Simon, Psy. D.
In any relationship that is more than just casual there will be conflict at times. The path we take when faced with conflict determines whether the outcome will be positive or negative. Margaret and Jordan Paul authors of “Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You?” suggest that we can choose the Path of Protection or the Path of Evolution (I like to call it the Path of Growth). According to the authors the Path of Protection leads to power struggles, distance, deadness and feeling unloved and unloving. The path of Growth, on the other hand, leads to fun, joy, closeness and personal and relationship growth.
Individuals choosing to follow the Path of Growth have to be able to move from the instinctive intent to protect to the intent to learn. Practicing the skill of mirroring is one method to assist you with this move. The method is simple, though not always easy. Here’s an example of how to mirror:
If both individuals in a relationship use this skill and follow the Path of Growth, the resulting closeness and relationship growth can be phenomenal. However, if only you use it, YOU still are on a path that leads to growth and feeling better about yourself and others.