A reflection on mirrors
A few months ago, my co-worker Juliet planted a seed in my mind:
The best gift a friend can provide you is a mirror: a reflection of who you really are.
I’ve been reflecting on who I really am, and the ways I receive more insight into who I really am.
What’s a mirror?§
A mirror is something that reflects an image of you, so you can see yourself.
The best mirrors are those that reflect an accurate image, without too much distortion.
But any mirror that allows you to see yourself from a different perspective, even when biased, is useful!
Seeing yourself in the mirror§
Mirrors allow us to see ourselves in a light that is beyond our own perspectives, intuitions, and narratives.
In these moments, when we have an open mind and see ourselves in a new light, we are able to transform.
Who’s that in the mirror?§
Some years ago, I had a profound experience while seeing myself in a bathroom mirror.
I had found a sun dress and was wearing it for the first time at a party.
I went to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror.
The image of me I saw in the mirror did not match the image I had for myself.
Initially I rejected the image I saw, the person I was seeing wasn’t me, I’m a man!
With time I came to accept my new image of me wearing a dress, which allowed me to construct a more inclusive identity that embodied both masculine and feminine.
Using other people as a mirror§
Your friends are mirrors too!
Your friends each have an image of you, based on their experiences and reflections.
A friend can share direct feedback about their image of you.
By receiving another’s mental model of you, you can better understand who you really are and update your mental model accordingly.
We want our friends to provide an honest mirror, who we really are to them, not who we want to believe we are to them.
This gives us wider range of perspectives than we can have alone.
Sometimes an inaccurate mirror is helpful because it can stimulate a gut reaction about who you really are.
Even if it’s not an accurate picture of you, it can still be useful to see yourself in a different light!
Using interactions as a mirror§
Every interaction you have is a mirror!
You might be able to see yourself through a first impression with a stranger.
Or maybe someone asks you something, your initial reaction is a good view into your intuition!
We are surrounded by mirrors… have you seen yourself lately?