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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Find a Mirror

It never ceases to amaze me how blind we can be to our own problems. We often repeat patterns in our lives time after time before we even notice what we're doing, let alone change it. Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard we try to work ourselves out we make very little progress without some type of feedback like a mirror.

Try a little experiment... Go into your bathroom (or whatever room that has a mirror) and look at yourself. What did you look at? Your hair? Your skin? Your clothes? And what did you purposely avoid looking at? Did you look at your eyes? Did you look INTO your eyes? Go back to that mirror and truly make eye contact with yourself; keep that eye contact as long as you can. How comfortable were you with that experience? Were your thoughts and feeling positive or negative? For many people, it can be hard for them to face themselves. If it was hard for you, consider exploring why and practice until it becomes easier.

While a physical mirror is mostly helpful when dealing with some physical issues, taking the word mirror in a more metaphorical sense is even more useful. There are a number of different things that can serve as a mirror. For me, I can get a lot of insight from trying to answer questions that I find in self-help and spiritual books. Sometimes writing in a journal can help provide a sense of reflection. In fact, most any of the self-awareness practices I describe serve as a mirror in some sense or another. But I think some of the most useful mirrors are the people around us.

People can act as mirrors passively or actively. In the passive sense, you can observe the people around you and your relationships to them to learn more about yourself. Examine why you consistently react the way you do with certain people, whether positive or negative. You may think that will just tell you something about the other person but you would be surprised at what it can tell you about yourself. Many times, something we dislike about someone else is something we dislike about ourselves (even though it may be more obvious and pronounced in the other person).

In a more active sense, you can ask another person direct questions about yourself. Choose a friend or family member you trust to tell you what they think your biggest blind spot is. Others around us tend to be able to see things about ourselves that we miss. Of course not everyone you know is able to give relatively unbiased information about you so choose carefully who you ask or see a professional (such as a therapist, counsellor or holistic health practitioner) instead.

And of course, you can combine your "mirrors." Find a trusted friend to work through a self-help book with or discuss spiritual questions with. Doing so on a regular basis can help you change things that may not be working for you in your life.

What mirrors can you use in your life?

Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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