One of the most powerful tools we have available is mirrors. And what we do with mirrors reveals much about who we are. What? “Rick, how do you support that statement?” you ask. Bear with me now...
When you look in the mirror, you are the only person in the universe who sees looking back what you see. I don’t know if you have ever stopped to think about that before. But you were created special, the first of only one edition.
What is your response to what you see in the mirror? You could have countless responses: “boy, you sure are good looking!,” “I wish I could change the way my face looks,” “why did you do what you have done?,” “I sure am proud of you,” “I think I need to get my hair done differently,” “I could look at myself all day,” “I sure am uncomfortable with what I see.”
When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you look deep into your own eyes or do you avoid looking into your eyes altogether?
When you look at yourself in the mirror you are seeing the source of most of your problems...you are also seeing the solution to most of your problems!
Michael Jackson sang a song called “Man in The Mirror.” He wrote, “That’s why I am starting with me. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” We can debate many dimensions of whether or not he was successful in following the advice he gave.
Mirrors are fragile. They can break easily. And once broken, they can not be put back together.
Mirrors are most effective when they are polished or cleaned. A mirror coated with dirt defeats the purpose of a mirror and renders it merely a piece of dirty glass.
The old wise tale is if you break a mirror, you face seven years of bad luck. This superstition dates back to the Romans, who were the first to create glass mirrors. The Romans believed that a mirror had the power to confiscate part of the user’s soul. If the user broke the mirror, part of his soul would be trapped in the mirror. The Romans also believed that a person’s physical body renewed itself every seven years, hence the seven years of bad luck.
There are many things that you can do with mirrors. Mirrors have many useful purposes. You can look at yourself, you can use it to reflect your image to others, you can reflect the sun or a light, you can reflect others, you can focus light on an object...but what you do with a mirror tells us a lot about you.
Each of us have mirrors in our home. They are pretty much a necessity. Who wants to walk out the door for the day without glancing at yourself in the mirror to be sure you look presentable for the day? I think this use of a mirror is important.
There are some who spend way too much time in front of a mirror. Mirrors can be a way that a person vainly focuses on himself or herself and becomes in awe of themself. At times like this it is hard to remember that, with one exception, the entire universe consists of other people!
A person who spends too much time looking at themself in the mirror may have too much pride. Pride turns our mirror back on ourselves. We think that others find us as attractive as we find ourself. We can become Narcissus until we drown in a pool of self-absorption.
Looking at yourself in a mirror can be constructive also. For example, if you look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and ask the question, “What have I accomplished today?” Honestly answering this question can help you be effective with your time tomorrow.
One of my favorite sayings is “There are two ways to spread light; be a candle or be a mirror.” Being a candle means you are creating a light or an atmosphere that is contagious, one that is worth catching. There are days that we are a beacon, spreading good will for those we come into contact with. Then there are other days that aren’t so good. On these days, we risk taking from others rather than giving. It is on days like this that we need to be a mirror.
You see, mirrors don’t take from or add to what they reflect. They simply take what exists and deflect it a different direction. If you are in a bad mood, find someone who is a candle for the day and simply reflect the attitude that the other person has. From time to time in my office I say to staff members, “I need you to be a candle today.” This means “today is a tough day, help me through.” In these instances, I don’t try to generate light, I just try to reflect another’s.
On a spiritual level, my goal with my life is to reflect God in all I do. If in the life I live I can reflect God each step I take, my life is a success. In reflecting God, it is not possible for me to add to who He is. It is very possible to subtract from Him. If I can truly be a mirror and if others can see God working through me, then my life is on track.
In interacting with others, my goal is to reflect back at others the positives in their lives. If my life is not about me, but is about others, the mirror points away from me and becomes a tool to encourage and uplift others. They don’t even need to know who is behind the mirror. That is not important. My life is not important except for the impact it has on others.
If my mirror is pointed at others and is helping to reveal other’s gifts and talents and is encouraging them to develop their gifts, my mirror is positioned correctly.
Which way is your mirror positioned? Is your life about you? Do you constantly see yourself in your mirror? As long as you look good in your mirror, is your life complete? Or is your life about others? Is your mirror pointed away from you for the benefit of others? Are you helping others by spreading light with your mirror?
My challenge to you is to use your mirror for the benefit of others. If your mirror is all about yourself and no one else, adjust its direction. If your life is about getting others to hold their mirrors up so you can see more of yourself, you are headed for a train wreck.
Use your mirror to reflect God. Or use your mirror to highlight back to others the positives they have. If your mirror is about helping others accomplish what they need to be accomplishing, you have put your mirror to a good use.
Only you can choose which way your mirror faces.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a local attorney, a syndicated columnist, and the Executive Director of the Leadership Roswell Program. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, NM, 88202-0850.