Our Mirror Self
Mirror, mirror on the wall, so goes the line in the 1937 Disney classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s both “Mirror, mirror, on the” wall” AND “Magic mirror, on the wall” by the way, I want to suggest that our life is a mirror of ourselves. Psychologists and researchers alike agree that much of what we experience, and complain about in life, is a mirror of ourselves. Have you ever been frustrated in traffic because someone pulled out in front of you? You’re calling them your favorite name; suddenly, you realize that you have done that too? I have caught myself many times. Now I say that to myself after I complain.
So often, much of what we find irritating in others is very often what we need to work on ourselves.
The dark side draws its power from the more raw, intense emotions, like fear, anger, hatred, passion, and aggression. These are traits from which few of us can claim exemption. Most of us put forth our frustrations with these emotions regularly. The term dark side implies that we are turning ourselves away from the light. We are transforming ourselves away from the very things which we desire for ourselves and others. I think this is because of the raw and intense emotions surrounding this mystical and ubiquitous power; it seems somehow more accessible.
I found out recently that a young man I had invited over to Thanksgiving dinner had a drug addiction. I had no idea from his behavior nor his attitude that such existed. Those detrimental effects were hidden not only from me but also from him, as he shortly after that died from a drug overdose.
When we recognize we’re complaining about others and ask ourselves if this is something that we need to work on, we will frequently find that we need to pay attention as well. Some literature refers to this side of our personality as the shadow side. I like that term better because it implies that we all have some deeply ingrained rigid ways of thinking and behaving to which we could pay more attention. What are those little comments that show you’re biased’ ‘that you or your kids make? What are we as parents passing on to them in terms of our rigid ways of thinking?
Taking the time to look at your shadow side, as if in a mirror, will help you and your kids. You will begin to see that much of what we live in this life reflects our thinking. What if, at the end of this life, we found that all that we saw, enjoyed, complained about, and experienced were directly related to our creation, which I suspect that, in many ways, it is correct. If you want to check yourself in this area, try a few simple statements to see if they stir anything up within you.
Here are a few to begin with, and then you can construct some of your own. Try these: 1) You are left on an airplane for two hours because of a miscommunication that the pilot had with the tower. 2) You are in debt because of an error the bank made, and now you are spending hours and hours straightening it out. 3) Someone calls you a name that lights your fire; you know that one word that you dislike. 4) Someone confronts you falsely about something and now is going after you verbally.
Many of these situations bring to mind some of the realities of life that we have faced. It is so important to teach our kids to be proactive in as many of these situations as we can help them understand in advance. By role-playing these and others with our kids, we give them the tools that they need to be more Teflon coated when life unfairly treats or doesn’t deliver what we expect. Here’s what I know: When we take some time each day to review our more difficult situations from the day, we help ourselves be more aware of our shadow side and then address it.
I hope you will take some time to develop this concept for yourself and those you love.
Continue in this self-improvement vein here Mastery of Self – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com); We Are All Connected – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com.
Here are Ten Self Improvement Tips that you will enjoy 10 Self-Improvement Tips That Will Change Your Life – National;
Psychology Today has a quiz on self-esteem that is fun to try here Self-Esteem Test (psychologytoday.com)
Yours for Better Parenting,