When we look in a mirror we do not see reality—we see a reflection of what is real. The image on the glass is not the genuine article. These are the two faces: our own real face and the reflection of our face. Most of us generally accept this.
But there are a second set of faces, perhaps less obvious. And both are reflections. The first face is what we want to see. The second is what we dread seeing.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Some days I look in the mirror in my bathroom—usually while shaving or brushing my teeth—and I really like what I see. I smile at myself. And some days I look in that same mirror and all I can see are the things I hate about myself, both the external and, strangely, the internal as well.
These mirrors also show up metaphorically in our lives, usually disguised as our pet peeves and annoyances. And each has two faces, or polar extremes, too. What we want to see more of and what we want to see less of.
And these mirrors always have a message for us.
For example, one of my pet peeves is selfishness or selfish behavior in others. I get very irritated when innocent people get hurt, trampled, abused, or taken advantage of by people who seemingly are only concerned with themselves and what is going on in their own world. Yes, I understand that for the most part this describes most of us to some degree. I’m talking about those who knowingly act selfishly. Or worse still, those who are so clueless or living their life with tunnel-vision blinders on that they don’t even know they are hurting others.
But this post is about mirrors, not selfish people.
So what is the message that my mirror is trying to tell me about selfishness? Remember, there are two faces. The first face might be validating me for being a person who tries to be aware and conscious of others and their feelings. That’s good. That’s what I want to see more of.
But there is a second message, the opposite extreme. Perhaps why I am bothered by selfishness is that deep down I wish I was more self-concerned, self-interested, self-motivated, self-caring, self-loving. More self-ish.
Learning to see and recognize the mirrors that show up in my life has been a great blessing. I learned this exercise from my coach. I have been consciously practicing it and am getting better at seeing it.
Give it a try. Look around you. Look at what you like and dislike. And then look for the two faces staring back at you.
You just might like what you see.