The Mirror Effect: What Challenging People Can Teach You About, Well, You
The Mirror We Truly Need
“He is so full of himself”, “She just does that so people will think she’s funny”. “They’re not really THAT happy. It’s just for show.”
The thoughts we have of others may feel like we’re just stating the truth. “He is full of himself.” “They aren’t truly happy.” “ She wants to be funny.”
These feel true, but they’re really thoughts we’re having or evaluations we’re making. While it might seem silly to worry about where they come from or how we come to believe they’re true, some of these thoughts can bring us insight into our own sense of ourselves, into our own behaviors, and even into our own feelings.
The mirror effect can be a self-realization tool for us where we find the parts of ourselves within others and come to better understand ourselves when we do.
Let’s take a look at a few common ones and see what insight or self-realizations might be hidden within them.
They’re too arrogant (Or selfish, or quiet, or annoying, or infuriating…)
Whether you think someone is too quiet or too loud, you’ve probably thought this of someone from time to time. THey’re “too___” you say to yourself (or someone else…) and you believe you’re just observing something that is, of course, true.
We’d invite you to take a step back and examine the idea for a moment.
If someone is “too loud” what is an acceptable “loudness”. Does everyone agree? Perhaps not.
So, what might it mean for you to think someone is “too loud”?
When you use the mirror effect to reflect on this example, you might find that you see them as so outgoing, so boisterous, and so overbearing, because they remind you of a friend or family member. Or maybe their loudness is the direct opposite of your quiet demeanor. Perhaps you long to loud, strong, and social. Perhaps you think their loudness is a shield that they hide behind.
When you use the mirror effect to do some digging into your evaluations of others, it’s important not to accept “I don’t know. I just think that.” as an answer from yourself. It is, no doubt, the answer your mind will try to hand you so that it doesn't have to do the work.
When our evaluations of someone say “too” we can begin to see if it is that very characteristic that we desire, dislike, or don’t see within ourselves.
But It’s So Easy For Them
Another evaluation we might make about someone and another great place to use the mirror effect for some self-reflection and realization is when we consider the stories of the lives of others.
This is a popular one nowadays because of social media. We see the highlight reel of people’s lives and our brains tell us that “That’s all there is to them. That’s the story.”
And if we take the highlight reel at face value then we might find that, yep, we do think things are just easy for others.
We might think that someone has the fit body they have because they can exercise or eat well easily.
We might think that the mom with the gorgeous glamour shots hugging her angelic smiling kids has never had mashed peas in her hair as she drives to the store with a screaming baby in tow.
We might think that somehow people have found the key to ease that we’re lacking but the mirror effect helps us bust through that misconception.
The toned abs, perfectly groomed kids, or easy life we think we see might offer us some insight into our own vision of our lives. Do we think that we could possibly live a picture perfect life? Do we think that no one else has troubles or struggles? Do we think we can somehow avoid all of the challenging experiences of life? Do we think that there is an easier way? Do we feel that we are not good enough?
When we compare our lives to someone else's “greatest hits” we can get pretty down. But allowing ourselves to remember that everyone deals with challenges, grief, pain, physical challenges, family strife, and all the things we feel make us “imperfect”, we can begin to get just a bit kinder when we deal with ourselves and others.
They Hurt My Feelings (Again…)
The last thing the mirror effect can do is to empower us to grow. We can get great insight as we explore how we compare or evaluate (judge, yeah judge…) others. That’s a given. But the real change is begun in taking our lives to the next level and taking charge of what we learn from the mirror effect.
Many times we tell ourselves that we’ve go it right. And we just might. But other times we’ve given over control of our feelings or actions to others.
“He talked right over me during our last conversation. He never listens to me”
“She didn’t write me back until the next day. I was worried sick!”
When we use the mirror effect to empower ourselves we make instances like this less common because we know that we are in charge of how we think and feel. Since we’ve become clear on our vision, and our old or unhelpful behavior patterns, we can deal with life’s challenges head on using the insight we’ve gained.
Self-Realization: Mind-Blowing Power From Within, Courtesy Of The Mirror Effect
Whether one or all of our examples today resonated with you, it’s pretty clear that the mirror effect is an awesome tool for changing old behavior patterns. The mirror effect is the way that we turn our judgements and thoughts about others into fuel for self-realization and change in our own lives.
A Final Note On The Mirror Effect
If you’re ready to explore the mirror effect and how it’s showing up in your own life, feel free to visit our Coaching page where you’ll learn all about how working with Courtney can help you turn insight into self-realized action.
See you there!