Do Our Pets “Mirror” Aspects of Ourselves?

mirrors jennie faberBy Julia Williams

There is a popular metaphysical concept that goes something like this: every person in our life is a mirror, i.e., they reflect back to us some aspect of our “self” that will help us grow as human beings. The theory is that everyone we meet gives us the opportunity to see who we are with greater clarity, much like holding up a mirror and gazing at our reflection. Further, it’s said that the attributes in others that bug us the most are the areas within our own lives that need the most work.

Whether it’s true or not is anybody’s guess. The thing about a concept like this is that science can’t prove or disprove it, so we can either choose to believe…or not. Personally, I’m inclined to think there’s some truth to the concept.

It got me to thinking. If every person offers this learning experience, this opportunity to really understand who we are, then what about other living beings in our lives – our pets? Many of us are as close to our pets as we are to other humans. It stands to reason that every being we allow into our lives could offer this potential for personal growth. And as with humans, could it be that the pets who are particularly challenging are the ones who offer us the clearest mirror to our own flaws?

Take my cat Rocky, for example. I love him to the moon and back, but he has one habit that annoys me greatly. He is food obsessed, and he thinks nothing of making a grab for whatever is on my plate – while I am in the middle of eating it, no less – or jumping onto the kitchen counter to eat his CANIDAE food before I can finish dishing it into his bowl. (Trust me, it’s impossible to put cat food in a dish with his fluffy face in the way). It would seem that he has no control over these food-related urges.

mirrors Ma1974When I look at his behavior as Rocky mirroring some aspect of myself that I don’t like and that needs work, it’s spot on. Now, I don’t go stealing food off of people’s plates or anything, but there are times when I also seem to have little self control over food-related urges (typically it involves bacon, lol). The point is, Rocky and I both allow our obsession with food to dictate our behavior.

Another example: my cat Mickey is my “wild child.” Mickey has an iron will and a stubborn streak a mile long, especially when it comes to doing something that he wants to do that I don’t want him to do. I see that same obstinate nature in myself. Mickey and I are both have an independent-to-a-fault tendency, which can definitely cause some issues in personal relationships.

My cats could well be mirroring unbecoming aspects of myself back to me so that I can work on becoming a better human. Or, they might simply be doing things that have no relation whatsoever to the things I do. Who can say for certain it’s one way or the other? Does it really matter? Not really, but I think it’s interesting food for thought.

What about your own pets? Do you see aspects of yourself in any of their behaviors?

Top photo by Jennie Faber

Bottom photo by Ma1974

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4 thoughts on “Do Our Pets “Mirror” Aspects of Ourselves?

  1. Well, our cats like to sleep a lot. And so do I. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

    Seriously, though, I think you’re absolutely right in your premise. When we are relaxed, so are our cats. And when we are anxious, they all – Moosey, Zoe and Gracie – all manifest it in their own ways.

  2. My Labs are food obsessed – that’s me sort of, but I’m picky and they are not. My Labs have no manners – that’s not me, but more of my fault for not training them better. Hey – we all have blonde hair. Maybe we do mirror each other after all. Diane @ CANIDAE

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I’m currently writing a book about my cat and it’s striking how many flaws we had in common. Because we had the same needs and issues, we naturally gave each other what we needed. In fact, I learned more from my cat than from any other person in my life.

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