On Mirrors, Teachers, Expanders

Amitha Kalaichandran
7 min readAug 11, 2023
Shiva Performing the Dance of Bliss while Vishnu and Brahma Provide Musical Accompaniment (or…a depiction of mirrors/teachers/expanders!)
Original public domain image from
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

I don’t often (or ever!) write about spiritual elements of health and healing (not to mention ideas with no references or ‘reporting’ per se!) but one concept resonated with me recently, after someone sent me a viral Tiktok video (!). The second point made — about mirrors/teachers/expanders seems relevant for life on and off social media, as well as workplaces/companies because they are comprised of *people.* It’s a helpful framework to ‘reframe’ interactions with a growth mindset as well, and understand it all as a ‘dance’ we consciously participate in (or decide not to). However there aren’t any clear definitions, so this is my attempt here, as it seems to have resonated with close friends and loved ones, so it might be of interest to readers here.

Of note, random passer-bys etc aren’t ‘relationships’ by definition, so those don’t really count in terms of our personal evolution unless there’s some kind of conflict or interaction that triggers us in some way to engage (it’s also a reminder that engaging ‘creates’ an energetic bond, which means energy, time, etc — why the most compassionate/conscious thing is not to engage).

Alright here we go. Relationships (friendships, family, partners, co-workers) fall into three categories:

1)Mirrors, 2)Teachers 3)Expanders

1)Mirrors

People that mirror parts of us we prefer not to confront. These deal with core wounds from childhood or early adulthood. Things like: needing to be perfect and moral (in order to be worthy/loved/feel secure and grounded and not anxious or abandoned), needing to please everyone and ‘be nice’ (in order to be worthy/loved etc), needing to fight/push for things (in order to secure resources/help/survive etc — this leads to envy and scarcity mindset)

(a) mirrors can have ‘good intentions’ for us (“expansive” or “helpful” mirrors)

…even if they bring up core wounds (unintentionally), the relationship helps us heal those wounds namely because the ‘mirror’ (other person) has the intention of kindness, compassion, patience, love etc (in other words: good intentions). This intention has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with how ‘healed and self-aware’ they are of their own triggers.

--

--

Amitha Kalaichandran

A physician, epidemiologist, medical journalist, and health tech consultant with an interest in the intersection of integrative medicine and innovation.