There’s a thought I recently came across which I not only found interesting but also keep thinking about. That thought, on an article I read this week was that “everyone in your life is a mirror”. At first, I thought I completely understood the concept but the more my mind wandered around it, I thought of things in favour of this and against it.
In the last few months, I’ve given quite a bit of thought to what I want out of the relationships I have in my life. My personal focus was particularly on friendships because I’ve seen many of those suffer during this time of uncertainty but others have blossomed. Some have been really quite difficult to maintain but others couldn’t have been easier. It’s really made me think. I’ve never been the kind of person who has been concerned about what I myself have wanted of something. My perspective is always about other people and I’m sure others will identify. However, I’d like to think I’ve brought a little bit of selfishness in now, because of this extraordinary year but also because I really do think I need to have a focus on myself more in order to better my own mental health.
It’s true that people you are close to can reflect a bit of you
So, here’s my “for” argument of this statement. I do believe that the relationships and people you have in your life shine a light on the vibes you transmit and are, in a unique way, an attraction that you’ve brought about. The reason I believe that is purely because I genuinely think everyone, at some point, feel the positivity of their friendships and relations. Whether that comes when you’re shown love because you celebrate a big birthday or simply because you go through something tough and you realise how many people care about you. It could be anything. I firmly believe most people have felt the love, the care and the beauty of relationships. And what makes these (or at least some of these) “better” is when you associate with or have people in your life that lift you up and make you want to be a better person. The conversations you may have which make you feel fuzzy inside, the way you love the vibes others give off and want to be around them more. That’s all a reflection of you. It comes from within and it also comes from the vibes you give off. We should never ever underestimate the effect we have on others too. Even when you don’t want to have an effect, you do. I’m great and can understand this part of the argument more. What I struggle with is when you delve into the slightly negative points.
You can better yourself through your experiences of others
I think this is where the negativity sinks in a little for me. I know that I’ve had people in my life where I’ve learnt valuable lessons when they’ve left my life. However, I’ve also learnt a lot from those who have remained and also those I do and don’t get along with. My thing is, I never want to stop learning from the people around me and this also counts those who I’ve known for years so it makes it easier. The thing I struggle with in this concept is when I know how much I don’t like a certain aspect of a person and it makes me feel like I’m wrong when I’m “going against” it sometimes – for example, if you’re constantly trying to change someone’s opinion or trying to open them up to another perspective but always seem to be unsuccessful at it. In a way, that teaches you some discipline and also a little about how you don’t want to be. And that’s how you better yourself. You sometimes don’t want someone to feel the way you do in that equation so if it was to happen to you, you may be more conscious of it. But other times, karma can teach you something in the same way that you are seeking to teach someone else. Confusing!
Are most of us scared to see the bad sides of ourselves?
I would probably answer this with a pretty strong yes but I think the older I’ve become, the more I’ve been comfortable with my flaws. I know myself a lot more and I therefore don’t feel as “bothered” by someone else’s opinion of me. Call it self-worth or just belief in my own self… call it what you like! However, I think it is definitely human nature to only want to see yourself in a good light. This is why we need to understand that we all have good and bad traits. What determines these are what we judge to be “good” and “bad” in the first place. This could also relate any life experiences we might’ve had or even some part of our childhood or childhood memories. It could also be that we sometimes see ourselves as a reflection of how others define us. I know I’ve let that get in the way of my own perception of myself before. It’s not a weakness. It’s just that sometimes you do end up in situations or have people you meet who reflect a part of you that you may not agree with. And you don’t need to agree with it at all. Never ever forget that. You can define your own image of yourself and you do not need to listen to or take notice of any voices or opinions around you. That’s the absolute bottom line.
Mirrors can be your way of seeing your biggest flaws but also your biggest strengths
If you do believe that everyone in your life is a mirror of you, you should also let yourself realise that they are the greatest way you can better yourself into the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s possible to let those mirrors shine a light on you which would cause you to delve into your inner feelings and experiences and work on them to become better – whatever better means for you. You can make the best of the most awful people in your life and you can also learn that sometimes your greatest strengths can also be your biggest weaknesses, and vice-versa. Don’t underestimate how good it can be for you to go through a storm in order to come out better and come out of a fantastically positive experience knowing how to set a boundary for yourself – which could be something you previously may have decided was a negative.
Keep your values & beliefs at your core, no matter what’s staring back at you
I know it’s taken me a long time to think about what I would like all my relationships to be but it’s taken even more time to figure out and stand by how I want to be in my own self. In recent years, I’ve identified my own personal core values and this has helped me define quite a few things in my life in general. This simply means that some relationships I’ve been happy to let go of and also that the half-hearted ones don’t have space in my life anymore. Value yourself, your time and what you bring to the table. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in wanting a certain standard in your life and being strong enough to walk away when you’re not getting it. Sometimes the mirror that we speak of may reflect you just not taking nonsense anymore. You don’t need to smash the mirror but simply mould it to be what you want it to be. And there may be times where you’re not worried about what it shows you – good or bad – and that’s also totally fine!
To end, I just want to say that you should celebrate your flaws as much as your qualities. There will be people who take you in different ways but there will also be people who take you exactly as you want them to. People who see you for precisely who you are and are open to your growth, your changes in perspective as life meanders through the experiences it inevitably gives. However, never falter just because someone shows you something of yourself that you may not like. That’s the beauty of having a “mirror”. You can choose to see it and change it or you can decide to blank it out. Either way, always remember to be true to the most authentic version of yourself. There’s beauty in that authenticity.