“People are our teachers” is a quote that comes to mind, just when I need to pay attention to how I am interacting with someone else.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

When we get triggered it usually isn’t about the other person at all. They are not the enemy. They are the catalyst. Whatever they said or did has touched something that is already present inside of us. It was already there.

Some would call this a wound from the past or a missing need. I see it is a vulnerable tender part of us that is close to our heart, metaphorically and literally in my body.

When we understand that it isn’t about them, we can practice becoming more present when we are triggered, or when we feel uncomfortable around someone.

Instead of directing our energy into judging and blaming their behavior and defending ourselves, we can learn to see the other more objectively, and bring our attention to what is going on inside us.

We take responsibility for our own reactions and feelings, and look inwards. This is where the discoveries can be made and transformation takes place. Not with them, but within ourselves.

This is not the time to beat ourselves up though! There is nothing wrong with our own reactions and feelings. They are alerts for us to pay attention to what we need. Tara Brach has a compassionate and inspiring approach to this.

“The purpose of anger is to let us know there’s an obstacle to our wellbeing, and to energize us to act. While natural and necessary for survival and thriving, this powerful energy often possesses us and leads to suffering… In the deepest way, when we get possessed by anger, we’re really cut off from our full humanness – our full spirit.”

~ Tara Brach taken from her website and podcast. View it here

One of the most important lessons in our spiritual journey is to differentiate between the outer experience and our inner experience. It isn’t so easy as the lines are often blurred when emotions are involved.

Instead of  looking to the external with judgment and blame, when we bring kind intention and attention to our own thoughts, feelings and body sensations, we make space for our inner experience.

This allows us to discover what it is that we long for… and to open our hearts again to the love that is always there. It’s a practice that takes patience and kindness for ourselves and those around us who are also suffering.


A practice that works for me, is to bring one hand to the heart and the other onto the abdomen. I notice the defensive tension there, and often an upholding of the breath that goes with it. As I allow myself to breathe more slowly and deeply, the tension releases and I feel soothed by my own touch. I hold myself with tenderness and realize that I have disconnected from my inner being and my heart. When I feel this warm vulnerability I know It’s time to give myself the compassion that I have been longing for. Then I may roll out my yoga mat, or simply get on with my day, feeling lighter and fuller.

~ Val Boyko

27 comments on “People are our Teachers

  1. Michael Hinnegan

    Love this Val. Thank you! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. this is so true, and shifts the focus onto ourselves, rather than others

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautifully explained. It’s always easier to project onto others so we do not have to do our own work. It is more challenging and more rewarding to follow your tuition. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Beatuifully thought out and written Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It does take practice and patience and yes at times we can still find ourselves triggered… And within that we are learning what is still not resolved within ourselves.. As often those who trigger us act as a mirror, a reflection of an aspect of ourselves or our own behaviour patterns.. The learning never ends.. 🙂 But we get better at recognising the signs and having more patience with ourselves Lol
    Such a great post dear Val.. full of wisdom..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sue. I have found this to be such a long journey. .. and perhaps it will never end. Patience and self compassion are so important when we do this inner work. Thank you for being here 💐🙏💞

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful. I used to tell clients that life is like a hall of mirrors. And this is how we grow, if we can accept the reflections we draw to us as if magnetized. I think it’s a real sign of maturity if we can perceive and consciously grow from these encounters. Thank you. 🙏❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Anonymous

    Understanding the power of transference is so important – applying that to change our responses is not easy

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed! This is difficult to out into practice when the ego wants to divert our attention from being vulnerable. Thank you 🙏🏼💐


  8. Well said!

    On the Spiritual Path, people who annoy us are our “teachers.” In time, people who can upset us become harder and harder to find.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Nancy. So true, we can transform our relationships. And, the more lessons we learn and the more we tune in, the more like minded souls come into our lives. 💐🙏🏼💖


  9. Very beautifully said Val, the wise words of an open heart. We are so used to ‘reacting’ that it takes some time to see beyond that defensive posture we use as a coping strategy. But slowly we will indeed see it for what it is and be released from it. Great post dear lady 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Everything always comes back to our own spiritual lessons on this journey. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. HI Val! You have been on my mind and I’ve been so bad about reaching out! Hope all is well…I will write soon. Love this article…and really love the photo of you!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Lorrie💕 I am about to head to Scotland for two weeks vacation and a family wedding. Would love to connect when I am back 💐🙏🏼🥰


      • Oh, Val…that is great! Have a wonderful time 😊 I will also be traveling…and going to a wedding! I will be in Philly area for a couple days…too bad you will be gone…maybe next year. Safe travels 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful advice, Val. I will try the hand to the heart and abdomen.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So inspirational. Thank you for sharing, Val.

    Liked by 1 person

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