Who doesn’t remember “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” Iconized in Disney’s Snow White as a mystical face with omnipotent sight, this idea of the brutal honest reflection, at first glance, appears to be both a powerful gift and curse. Wow, it’s beyond imagination to think that a magical mirror could tell you the truth, what no one else would dare say. The only question is would I want to know?
Several years ago, I would have found such a prospect as frightening, but nowadays, I would welcome the truth. Think about it; we all know that I’m on a quest for a better self and it’s a forever-like commitment so to be able to cut to the chase and be told where my areas of work are still needed would be an absolute time saver. Of course, I have yet to meet anyone with a magical mirror.
While thinking about this in my ever-mulling, OCD way, I realize that the magical mirror does exist. It’s not some external enchanted object like in the movies. It’s something that exists within us and it reflects in our behavior towards others. Basically, how we treat others is the most honest reflection of how we treat ourselves.
O.k. let’s break down this esoteric thought into real terms so that it’s more digestible. I’ll use myself as an example; I’m a kind person, yet by no means, am I perfect. I actually do make a commitment to be kind in my daily interactions but it doesn’t always work out as I intended. Sometimes, I’m confrontational, unreasonable, irritable, overwhelmed, and etc. The jig is up; I’m human.
It happens to everyone. I know this, yet when it happens to me, I’ve come to realize that it’s not typically this moment that I’m upset with; most of the time, there’s something else going on. When I’m angry, it’s usually because I’m hurt. Frustration is from overwhelmed emotion a.k.a anxiety. Unreasonable is from not trusting in myself and confrontation comes from a defensive posture. I have to ask, what am I defending again?
When I examine my not so best moments, I can clearly spot where my imbalances are. As it turns out, my reactions are my magical mirror. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when these feelings are most certainly justified. The thing to look at is whether I’m carrying these feelings into other personal exchanges. Nothing highlights this more than the hurt from my mom’s cancer and how easy it was to carry this into other interactions; to such an extent, I began to personalize everything; each poor interaction, even with strangers, would hurt my feelings.
Although understandable, I still needed to account for and amend it. I apologized when appropriate and then placed it on my list of flawed personality traits that I’m actively working on. It’s a lengthy list to be sure. Yet, I learned to give myself a break during my mom’s cancer. I had to. This was when I began to accept that I’m not perfect. And, to be honest, after I account, if the offending person has no compassion, I began to write it off.
I deserve compassion. I give it. I expect it in return. And, if it’s not there, I file it under irreconcilable indifferences and move on- no need to personalize it.
It’s important to remember that this whole healthy thing is a work in progress. I’ve simply come to terms with that. “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most accountable of them all?” One day, that may be me and all I have to share is love….We all need a dream; this is one of mine…
This piece is a two parter. Next time, I will share the first moment I saw my reactions as a reflection of myself. It was in Junior High so it was nothing short of awkward…Of course, I conveniently forgot this lesson until decades later, but that’s just how life and its emotional awakening works, I suppose.