Life is full of mysterious reflections. Some are clean and clear while others are distorted or deceptive. The mirror of our soul reflects back to us all aspects of our hopes and dreams, our love and passion, and ultimately our true self. These reflections serve as reminders and change according to need, and are felt within and seen by others without.
Before each incarnation our souls are known to us, as is our intimate source to the divine. That connection becomes muddled with life as a result of all the headaches and heartaches, complexities and confusion we endure. We struggle with holding on to that connection but it continues to float further and further away from our day to day consciousness. What once resonated with us spiritually becomes a distant faint glimmer among the stars of our forgotten dreams.Mirrors capture our image, revealing to us our likeness in great detail. But these are not the only mirrors we have available to us. There are other types of mirrors that reveal things about ourselves that we can’t see. Those reflections are all around us in one form or another, but none more common and reliable than our daily interactions with others. These mirrors provide the clearest reflection of our innermost selves once those reflections are brought into focus. That act in itself can prove to be quite a challenge.Remember running through the room of mirrors in the carnival funhouse? It was dizzying and disorienting, and you kept finding yourself bumping into either clear glass or mirrored reflections, unable to differentiate between the two. There probably came a point where you began to question which illusion was true to your eyes and which was in fact deceptive. Perhaps in trepidation you held your hands out in front of your body to shield yourself from hitting your face against the glass again.
If we’re honest, we’ll be able to admit that we have certain traits or characteristics that we don’t want to see, and we most certainly don’t want others to see. When we show our true selves, we are left vulnerable to the judgement and critique of others. When we hide these things then we are hiding from ourselves. We’ll eventually move through our self-made illusions and come out the other side relieved.
Those we encounter are the mirrors showing us our hidden truths. These encounters are arranged by the universe, and more times than not they are an opportunity for growth.When we can honestly watch ourselves through the actions of others, we are able to connect with both our strengths and weaknesses. These reflections of ourselves that we see in others help nudge us to remember who we really are, what we are really like, and what our life purpose is.
There are people in our lives who can trigger good or bad reactions almost immediately. Do you cringe when you think of bumping into a certain person you don’t like? Do you smile when you hear your children get off the school bus? What about the feeling of excitement when you arrive at a get together with your closest friends?
Our mirrors appear as people who come into our lives (friends, neighbors, co workers, enemies, grocery store clerks, and telemarketers) who have a way of bringing up our own issues. You can be going about your day when you encounter someone who creates a downward spiral in your world. Later you find yourself still thinking about the situation, going over the details, reliving the feelings of anger, insecurity, or guilt. Coming up with things you could’ve said, should’ve done.
Picture yourself showing up at that get-together you were so looking forward to only to see someone whom you always seem to clash with. That is a perfect time to look for the reflection of yourself. What is your reaction? Do you turn around and head out the door? Do you hide behind a plant? Maybe you walk right up and say hi in the most pleasant way you can only to feel your lip twitch. What are your feelings? Anger? Shame? Embarrassment?No matter the emotion, it’s strong and It can feel overwhelming. These instinctual feelings are a signal for you to take a closer look at yourself.
One personal experience occurred after my third child was born. I was insecure about the way I looked as It had been 6 weeks since I gave birth and I was still trying to shed the extra baby weight. I felt frumpy and depressed. I wasn’t getting much sleep, and I had no energy whatsoever.
One warm spring evening I made a quick jaunt to the corner market because we had ran out of milk. My husband was helping finish dinner so I reluctantly agreed to go. Besides, I hadn’t been out of the house in days. It was one of those ‘in cognito’ quick run in, run out, hope you don’t see anyone you know trips and lo and behold I run into an old high school friend. There I was, caught in my baggy sweatpants and milk-stained t-shirt, wearing no makeup with my hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Gina however, was sun-kissed and smiling. She seemed ‘put together’. In fact, she looked amazing. Several things ran through my mind; I was grateful that my husband wasn’t with me, that she probably wouldn’t have noticed me if I had been wearing my sunglasses, and that I hated her guts. I felt a twinge of guilt with that last thought because she was in fact a dear friend of mine during high school. She had always been positive and caring, but at that moment I couldn’t stand her. Everything about her bothered me, and I found myself focusing on how she was chomping on the piece of gum in her mouth and how incredibly irritating it was.
This encounter with Gina was a real wake-up call when I was finally able to come clean with myself about my jealousy towards her. It was emotional to see someone from my past, someone who reminded me of myself just a few years earlier. I found myself reluctant to answer when she asked me what I was up to. I didn’t want to ask her what she was doing with her life, afraid that she would have the same answer as me. She was married too, with a three year-old ; and 8 month- old twins! I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself as I looked at the radiant woman standing in front of me. Not knowing what else to do, I politely told her I was in a hurry and left
Later that evening I reflected on the encounter. After processing the feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, embarrassment, and sadness, and as I continued to peel back the layers of those emotions, my reflection became clearer and more focused.
The fact of the matter was that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I couldn’t remember the last time I took any time for myself, even to grab a coffee, or take a bubble bath. I was too exhausted and depressed to even give it much thought. After pouring all of my energy into being a good mom and wife, I had nothing left for me.
Encountering someone from my past, someone who I admired, someone who reminded me of who I used to be, was also a reminder of what I could still be.. Happy. Healthy. Put together. It created a sadness within me that was a direct reflection of my lack of self-love and acceptance. I threw on the sweatpants because I didn’t think to bother looking for anything else. My devotion to others allowed me to ignore myself, my own needs, and my feelings of worthiness. Why bother with makeup or brushing my hair if I wasn’t expecting to leave the house? What was the point?
The point was that I had simply forgotten about myself! My feelings of inadequacy stemmed from the fact that I had failed to create a perfect life for my family (which of course doesn’t exist for anyone). In feeling like a failure, it became easy to neglect my emotional and spiritual well-being. The more I neglected these two things, the more my self-image suffered. This was obvious in the way I treated myself, and my physical appearance was a direct reflection of that.
I was not only too tired, but I felt it was too selfish to worry about my own well-being or to fight for my own happiness. I thought that if I could manage making everyone else around me happy, then happiness for myself would naturally follow. I had fallen into the trap that so many moms fall into. Put simply, I had it ass backwards. This encounter with my old classmate was a wake-up call, a slap in the face from reality, and it was a way to stop the downward spiral.
I realized that I was the only one responsible for my own happiness, and I began a new way of life. I had an entirely new mindset. I began to think about myself. My needs. My wants. My emotions. My physical health. All of it. Gina mirrored the qualities I so desperately wanted back in my life. The self-confidence and genuine smile, the positive aura, and the bright energy. It was the real me, and I wanted it back. I began that night, scribbling away in my journal. I wrote out reasonable goals and crossed them off as I achieved them. I then created new ones. My confidence grew and my love and appreciation for myself blossomed.
Everyone you meet has the potential to act as a mirror. Every day you encounter them as smiling faces or sour looks. You’ll see friendly gestures or hear rude comments. How do those people reflect your own personal emotions that day? Are they similar or quite the opposite? How do those actions and attitudes affect you? Do they bring to attention certain patterns or habits you need to do away with? What are some that you need to embrace? Make the most of the human mirrors you meet in the world. Be open to the learning experience they offer, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable. Well, especially those ones.
Remember to keep close to your heart the knowledge that you too are somebody’s mirror. Never underestimate the importance of that.