Today I recalled a particularly funny incident that occurred while shopping with my mom when I was little. We’d slipped into a clothing store to browse for a few minutes, and she gradually made her way to the back of the store down a long isle of jackets or something. Meanwhile, I’d wandered off for a minute or two. When I spotted her down at the end of the isle near the back of the store, I broke into a run to meet her.
As I bolted, I noticed another boy at the other end of the store running toward me. Fifteen feet out I veered to one side to try and avoid him, but he veered to match me. As I neared my mom, we were still locked on a collision course. Five feet. I lurched to the other side. The kid did, too.
SMACK. We collided with a deadening force that shocked me. Dazed, I looked up at the boy, who was also back on his haunches. What I saw took a moment to register:
The boy was… me?
Yup. I’d ran into my own reflection in a mirror.
That happens all the time, by the way. To all of us. I have a theory that a fairly healthy percentage of our conflict with people isn’t really about them, but about us. We keep running into ourselves—the worst of ourselves—in other people.
As Rick Warren tweeted awhile back, “The common denominator in all your failed relationships is you.”