The second energetic law is that of Relational Reciprocity. This law is:
“Whatever you see, admire, love, point out, judge or criticize in your partner, also exists within you, either as the mirror, or the reciprocal.”
Aphorisms that allude to this law include “Opposites attract” and “Birds of a feather, flock together.”
This law is a reflection of what lies underneath the surface for both you and your partner.
Let’s imagine that you are someone with a great deal of Brilliance as part of your essence. It’s innate and natural for you; from the moment you were born, until the moment you pass on, you bring Brilliance into the space.
However, growing up, you were trained in certain areas that your innate Brilliance was not enough, and you would need to try harder. Perhaps you got a lot of pressure to do well in school, and the family pitted all their future hopes and dreams on you getting a degree. A’s were fine, but they weren’t an A+, and that was what you needed to get.
In these kinds of situations, you learned to over-express your Brilliance. That is to say, you learned that what was innate and natural for you wasn’t enough, and you needed to double-down.
In other areas, you learned that your Brilliance was a liability. While you needed to get good grades to bring home from school, you learned that around your friends, when you showed up with all your Brilliance, they felt insecure about their own intelligence, and compensated by making fun of you. They’d call you a nerd, a dork, a geek, or whatever else, and you learned that around people like this, you needed to turn down your Brilliance to be accepted.
In these kinds of situations, you learned to under-express what was innate for you. You turned your Brilliance waaaaaaay down. These two tendencies — the under-expression and the over-expression of your essence, are your shadow, your survival mechanism, or your ego (whatever term you like is fine.) Each side of your shadow is a reciprocal to the other.
So, while that all happened when you were a child, by the time you start seeking romantic relationships, it’s all automatic, engrained, and unconscious. You’re no longer aware you’re doing this — in fact, if you looked for it, it would be hard to see, because it’s so automatic.
You’re innately going to be attracted to partners that carry the same essence as you. If you carry a lot of Brilliance with you, you’re naturally (and irresistibly) going to be drawn to that underlying energy in potential partners.
On the surface, things seem a little more complicated. In some areas, you’re going to be drawn to your partner’s tendency, just like your own, to over-express their Brilliance. You’ll watch how they use big words and can speak at length about subjects, and appreciate this capacity (because it’s a reflection of what you yourself have learned to do.) In these situations, your partner’s tendency to have the same flavour of shadow that you do is affirming. It validates the way you show up in the world.
As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.”
In other areas, your partner will have the reciprocal to your own shadow. In these situations, while you are working exhaustively to over-express and prove your Brilliance in the space, your partner seems totally at ease playing the fool. They don’t mind looking dumb, in fact, they seem to relish in it!
This “opposite”, reciprocality to the way you show up seems so novel, fresh and enlivening to you. It feels like new possibility. All your life, you’ve spent time trying to prove your Brilliance, and your partner is almost going out of their way to disprove their own. (In fact, that’s literally what they’re doing, but never mind that for now.)
As the other saying goes, “Opposites attract.”
Over time, the novelty of this approach starts to wear off. In both of these situations, you begin to feel the “inauthenticity” of your partner’s shadow. It’s inauthentic because on some level, you know that they simply are Brilliance — and yet, here they are, going out of their way to either prove that they’re brilliant, or, to play some ridiculous charade that they’re less brilliant than they really are.
Both sides of this shadow ring false. And consequently, they grate on you. They are especially frustrating for you, because they’re a reflection of your own gifts, and your own unwillingness to fully embody who you are. When you point to your partner playing dumb, what you’re really being triggered by is their own unwillingness to simply stand in and own the Brilliance they are. And what you can’t see (but they sure as heck can) is that there are many areas where you yourself, are also unwilling to own your Brilliance.
In fact, the places where you are most likely to judge your partner for playing up, or down, their Brilliance, are the places where you are likely doing the reciprocal. If your partner is playing dumb, it’s quite likely that you are “playing smart” — going out of your way to demonstrate your Brilliance. And, because of the way your partner is showing up, it’s likely that you feel compelled to turn your Brilliance up even further to compensate for them diminishing their own.
We’ve looked at Brilliance here, but this applies for all aspects of the essence of who you are. Whether you embody Generosity, Curiosity, Wisdom, Spirit, Love, Connection or anything else, this same tendency is playing out in your relationships.
The beauty of this law is that it points us back to the fact that we possess both the medicine and the poison for our partner’s wounding. When they are triggered and showing up in their shadow, it’s likely we are as well. And if we, together, can find our way back to our shared essence, rather than the safety of our shadows, then we can heal. If we continue to judge each other, and point the finger to the other side, we further the wounding and perpetuate it down our bloodline.
Learn more about each of the The Energetic Laws of Leadership here.