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Polishing My Mirror

Have you noticed that it’s always the little things that cause us the most irritation? Or is it just me?

I am fantastic in a crisis. I keep my cool and think on my feet. I can take the bigger blows of life quite philosophically too.

But then I will get all flustered and bothered about some silly thing that might happen. Jose might say something that I misinterpret and I’ll get all worked up. Or I’ll get all irritated about the house being in a mess or things out of place. Or someone will pass a remark and I’ll take offence – even if I really don’t care for that person’s opinion. I haven’t read Richard Carlon’s ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ but it seems like a good mantra for me to adopt!

I have begun to realize that it’s the little things that irritate that point out  something. I remember reading about Carl Jung’s theory of the shadow projection where he said: we still attribute to the other fellow all the evil and inferior qualities that we do not like to recognize in ourselves. 

When I find someone’s behavior irritating is it because that behavior  subconsciously reminds me of my own?

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” ~  Rumi

Every little ‘rub’ is a call for me to look deeper within.  They are actually an invitation for me to work on my inner self.

What in your life is a call to ‘polish the mirror’?

May you be inspired – every day!


  1. Punam Punam April 4, 2012

    Well, Corinne, truthfully, I had no idea was was a frettering little mouse until a friend pointed it out.. and I began correcting msyelf, coz the friend was quite true in his interpretation of the  way I change my mind so fast – he had called me ‘finicky’.. and TRUST me, that hurt, but I did see a bit of truth in it and I realised that I spoke my mind just too much – my thought process would become words, and since I am in the ‘thinking’ phase and it all comes out, and the ‘deciding’ phase comes later, I woudl obviously come across as ‘finicky’.. 🙂 So I ‘decide’ to decide first and then do the talking. 🙂
    I think sometimes, friends become blessings and show you things that you might hardly wanna see in yourself. 🙂

  2. Lynne Watts Lynne Watts April 4, 2012

    This post to me is very similar to the idea that Jesus talks about where we should not point out the splinter in someone else’s eye until we have removed the boulder in our own.  In the same way, those things that most bother us about someone else SHOULD cause us to look in the mirror because it may very well be the very thing that we most need to work on ourselves.  Great post Corinne!

  3. Blond Duck Blond Duck April 3, 2012

    It’s the little things that make us happy and the little things that drive us crazy!

  4. Sweepy (A D Joyce) Sweepy (A D Joyce) April 3, 2012

    I think there is something true about your theory. At those moments when we get irritated, we all would do well to look at ourselves to see if it is warranted.

  5. melissatandoc melissatandoc April 3, 2012

    Oooo I remember how some people I interact with make my blood boil every time I see them. It’s similar to having an eternal nuisance in life except that the other party doesn’t have any clue as to what it’s all about 😛

    Yes, I’ve hear of the shadow projection many times before…and I guess it’s true in a sense.

    Or perhaps, I just need to clear out some things in myself inorder to be more objective than emotional.

    It’s mostly about my moods and the way I answer back. Thanks for sharing this BS :*

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 12, 2012

      I can’t imagine your blood boiling, Melissa. It must take some hugely irritating person to make that happen! 😉

  6. Rachel Rachel April 3, 2012

    Great story, Corinne.  We really should use our moments of anger to reflect and grow.  🙂

  7. Christine Christine April 2, 2012

    Corrine, what timing that I read this today! This weekend the little things became very heavy, so we talked it out and are making a renewed start today – gotta work to not let the little ones become the big ones!

  8. L.C. Griffith L.C. Griffith April 2, 2012

    Corinne, I made it! I’m not the most techno savvy soul so thanks for your patience. Anyway, as I said, this post really hit me. I’ve been a bit anxious and irritable lately, snapping at my husband for minor things, and allowing small things to overwhelm me. I hate when I let this happen. It’s a sure sign that I’m a bit off balance and I need to center on the truth—that being, that I am not in control, everything will be fine, and if I don’t accept myself as I am I will never be able to accept others. So…I’m going off to center and hopefully embrace myself and all that life is presenting to me today. Thank you for always telling the truth and not trying to pretty things up. It is what it is.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 12, 2012

      Thank you for your patience and for sharing, Leah. Yes, it’s important for us to get our balance and sense of proportion right. What you said is so true, if I can’t like myself, how can accept others. You inspire me, Leah. Thank you.

  9. Betsy at Zen Mama Betsy at Zen Mama April 1, 2012

    You must read Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!  It’s a fantastic book that helped me through several difficult times.  I am like you about the big stuff and the small stuff.  I have to let go and remind myself that a year from now most of the stuff I’m worried about won’t even matter!
    Great post Corrine!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 12, 2012

      I must get the book, Betsy. I like what you said that in hindsight all this will look so petty – enough to get me to stop acting nuts! Thanks, Betsy.

  10. irene9583 irene9583 April 1, 2012

    I don’t get that much irritated after I have my monthly period. But when I’m PMSing, I’m a totally different person. And I can get really annoyed by the slightest mistakes. I hate it when that happens. And I don’t want to blame it forever on hormones because I know there is something I could do about it.

    Thank you for this post, Corinne, for this was a great reminder! 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 12, 2012

      PMS can do that to us, Irene. However, when I’m aware of it – I’m able to control myself better.

  11. Amy McMunn Schindler Amy McMunn Schindler March 31, 2012

    Boy, oh boy, did I need to read this entry! Thank you for it!

  12. Beth Beth March 31, 2012

    It takes a lot to get to me, but once gotten, oh boy! 

  13. femmefrugality femmefrugality March 31, 2012

    Jung is one of my favorites.

    Keeping up with housework is definitely one of my “calls.”  It’s such a never ending task but I perpetually want it perfect and “done.”  I need to just take a deep breath and realize that somethings aren’t ever really “done.”

  14. Nikky44 Nikky44 March 31, 2012

    it reminds me of my own’s behavior, my own weakness, and guilt

  15. Jimi Ann Vane Jimi Ann Vane March 30, 2012

    Love it!  Looking at the (wo)man in the mirror takes courage…like Michael Jackson sang, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change…”  THanks, Corinne.

  16. Bikram Bikram March 30, 2012

    I think I have grown up now .. and I jsut do the best ignore it all..

    it works for me 

  17. Jennifer Worrell Jennifer Worrell March 30, 2012

    Great post! Owning your own junk is so liberating, too. My mirror could use a little spit and polish, so I appreciate the reminder. My girlfriend said to me today, “Don’t sweat petty things, and don’t pet sweaty things.”

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Thanks so much, Jennifer. Your girlfriend sure is funny. I’m going to remember for a long time.

  18. Sandrasfiberworks Sandrasfiberworks March 30, 2012

    Don’t feel bad. I can easily be irritated all day long. But give me a cup of coffee and I’m a happy little soul.

  19. Joheroux Joheroux March 30, 2012

    Well,  let me say that it isn’t always our own weaknesses or failings that annoy us in others, but it surely can be some times.  I find I am most introspective when something has annoyed me beyond reason. Meaning out of proportion to the actual ‘thing’ or what was actually said. That is when I think it is my reflection annoying me.  

    My largest irritation, though, is people who cannot tell the truth and that is most definitely not me.  I tell the truth and I want to hear the truth.  Period.

    Good and thought provoking post.  ♥

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Thank you, Jo. Yes, I understand what you say – if our anger is out of proportion it should be read flag.

  20. Galen Pearl Galen Pearl March 30, 2012

    Like you, the little things trip me up.  In a crisis, I am very calm and do what needs to be done.  But losing my car keys the other day had me unglued!  Love the Rumi quote.

  21. Bongo Bongo March 29, 2012

    Ohhhhhhhh how true this is…. I am the same as in “crisis”I stand strong and level headed…after that crisis I tend to fall apart….. I too believe that when what another person says or does something that  irritates me….that there is something in my life that irritates me …if that makes sense…. jeez I probably need that book myself LOLOL….As always…XOXOXOXO

  22. Jan Jan March 29, 2012

    I would feel blessed right now if I had small irritants in my life. Seems like I have one big issue or another always. I don’t get irritated at the small stuff anymore because I have relaxed and realized what matters in the end is how I lived not how others thought I lived. This is such a true post though, I have to polish my mirror quite a bit, but I work hard at not reacting out loud or with moods to the small stuff. Thank you. 

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      I know what you are dealing with Jan and you’re doing so with amazing grace and love!

  23. Jessica Mokrzycki Jessica Mokrzycki March 29, 2012

    Very true…great post! I am reading a book right now by Ken Wilber that talks a lot about Jung’s concept of the shadow and how it’s important to identify and understand our shadows and make peace with them so that we can grow and find peace.

  24. Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues March 29, 2012

    Thanks, Martha.

  25. Nelieta Mishchenko Nelieta Mishchenko March 29, 2012

    I agree completely with Mary! Some days small things don`t bother or irritate me at all but oh boy, some days! I am not sure what it is though, maybe the hormones 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Haha..Nelieta, let’s blame it on the hormones for as long as we can get away with that! 😉

  26. DangerousLinda DangerousLinda March 29, 2012

    Great post!  Reminds me of this quote from Anton Chekhov: “Any idiot can face a crisis, it’s the day to day living that wears you out.”  

    I agree with Janaki when she says we ‘mirror each other’.  It’s always amazing to me that when I think someone is doing ‘fill in the blank’ to me, they think that’s exactly what I’m doing to them!  We each have an opportunity to polish the mirror, or not, if we choose to look at it that way instead of blaming each other.

    What in my life is a call to polish the mirror?  Every freakin thing!!!

    PS  I’d like to share this at  Thanks!  XO  


    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Nice quote, Linda. You’re so right – everything is a call to look within! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Mary Hudak-Collins Mary Hudak-Collins March 29, 2012

    Sometimes Corinne, I don’t think it is necessarily the little thing that bothers us, but more the timing of the ‘little thing’.  We all have our limit, and if other stuff is going on in our life that we have to deal with in a real way, the ‘little thing’ can offer us the release of tension we need to move on 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      That’s another way of looking at it, Mary. But often our releasing of steam can cause a lot of hurt to someone else.

  28. Janaki Nagaraj Janaki Nagaraj March 29, 2012

    We mirror each other, I think. I can handle the big stuff when I get irritated with the smaller ones and am always at logger heads with my kids. I am trying to change, but that doesn’t happen too easily.
    Nice reminder.

  29. Sulekha Sulekha March 29, 2012

    I feel bad when unjustly accused of something but then the other person must be justified in doing what he did and I thought otherwise. It happens, we do get worked up over some issues in life, we are human 🙂 Lovely post.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Thanks, Sulekha. You’re so right. We have to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes too. Not always easy, I’m afraid.

  30. I can definitely relate, Corinne. The small things can sometimes irritate us most. But you’re right in saying they do reflect things we can improve on. What good mirrors they are! 🙂

  31. The Social Frog The Social Frog March 29, 2012

    I am someone who tries to just let the small stuff roll off but it is normal to become irritated or annoyed but what matters most is how we handle it.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 11, 2012

      Yes, irritation is natural but how we act on it shows what’s inside, RoseAnn.

  32. Sili Sili March 29, 2012

    This is so true. I’m the same way and I think s spend a lot of energy just being mad at myself for getting mad at the little things in the first place.

    I like that phrase: polish your mirror.

  33. Savira Savira March 29, 2012

    I use to be irritate by every little thing.. the way I saw or solved issues, comments and behaviors..till I realized that I was attaching my emotions and perception on those experiences…Learning to separate emotionally and being objective about that particular trait or experience..was tough and the funny thing is that it does not get easier .. it gets more complexed!
    Looking within is one of the ways I try to handle the issue.  Being truthful about what I am looking or observing or arguing about is another…
    We are human and we do the best we can…A great post that would create great responses…

  34. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando March 29, 2012

    This is absolutely true, Corinne.  So many little things that bother us do point to something lacking in ourselves about which we need think and reflect upon in order to keep our mirrors polished.  It is in examining those irritants in our lives that help us to grow and change.
    Superb post!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues April 10, 2012

      Thank you, Martha. It’s easier to write about than to do the work, I’m afraid! But I’ll get there!

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