Holding a Mirror to Yourself - Having Empathy for Yourself
Here’s the funny thing about mirrors: they don’t lie. I don’t just mean they reflect what it sees like we usually think of mirrors. It also reflects what WE see, think, and feel about the world.
In a world of trolls, likes, and social media, it’s easy to fall into judgment. We judge each other for what we post online. We judge ourselves for not having the life we see on our feed. While it may seem like holding a mirror to yourself will only end up making you judge yourself more harshly, it may have the potential to help you have more compassion for yourself and the people around you.
Why do we hold judgment for others?
Judgment is fueled by many things, but above all else, it’s not about you judging that person as it is judging yourself. Our judgment mostly stems from jealousy, inadequacy, and ignorance. Think of it as, “If I can’t do the thing that person is doing, then it’s wrong.”
This doesn’t mean judgment isn't always unwarranted. When it comes to a crime against humanity or something truly sinister, then of course they deserve to face judgment from a court of peers. However, judging someone for simply living their life often says more about you than it does the other person.
It shows what you may be insecure about in your own life.
What does it mean to hold a mirror?
A mirror physically reflects what we look like. It shows the wear and tear of the world on our bodies on our faces, but what about what it does to your mind? “Holding a mirror to yourself” means reflecting on your life and your reactions to life. It gives you a moment to ask yourself
How am I feeling?
Why do I feel this way?
Why am I reacting a certain way to a certain person?
When we judge other people, we’re always quick about it and don’t bother trying to understand why we feel that way in the first place. Most of the time, it stems from bias, envy, preconceived ideas, and insecurity about your own life. By holding the mirror to yourself rather than other people, you can begin to break down those snap notions and become more open to understanding other people. You begin to develop empathy.
How holding a mirror to yourself affects your life
Empathy is vital to living a happier, more connected life. When we judge other people, we become indifferent to their struggles. We don’t recognize the struggles they could be going through.
Throughout history, we’ve seen what happens when we become apathetic to other people’s struggles: racism, slavery, the holocaust, fascism, violence, and even environmental disasters as our indifference spreads to the planet.
So, take a few minutes today to hold a mirror to yourself and discover what judgements you may be holding because of what you’re going through. You may be surprised to discover how much judgment you hold and the difference you can experience in your life once you’ve let it go.
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