What Kind of Mirror Are You?

John Emil Augustine
Published on: 15th March 2014
I awaken to the sound of my alarm and head for the bathroom. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Not perfect, but not terrible either. Thank goodness, I think, my mirror does not verbally demean me! Instead, it simply mirrors, and my goal is to always look at the image it reflects objectively. When I look into the mirror objectively, I practice awareness.

We are also mirrors. We can be objective or we can be demeaning. We can hold a metaphorical mirror up to someone and say, "Look." Or we can say, "Look at you. You are awful." The second is called abuse. And we all have the ability to hold up that mirror and use it in any way we choose.

When I was three years old, I had a swing set in my back yard. I also had a cat whom I loved dearly. One afternoon while swinging in my backyard, I heard my neighbor, Vera, calling to me. It took me a minute, but I eventually slowed down and listened.

"You on the swing. Is that your black cat?"

what kind of a mirror are you?,our own reflection
"You listen to me. If I ever get a hold of your cat, I am going to kill him."

Talk about having the daylights scared out of me. I ran inside crying. That was the first time. Vera's harassment eventually got to the point that I couldn't play outside. So my mom set an old tape recorder by Vera's back door. Though it had no batteries, that tape recorder was an objective mirror. It was simply saying, "Listen to your words." Vera immediately stopped.

In public life, I still have Veras after me. Below I have pasted the end of a lecture I recently received in my Facebook inbox. I do believe the person who wrote this was trying to be helpful. I objectively understand that she was trying to teach me a lesson in humility, though being objective can be extremely difficult for many of us in the face of ridicule. Mirroring is poorly done when the expectation is objectivity in the face of scorn. Abuse for someone's "own good" is still abuse.

As a short background, these are the words of someone who was angry about a post of mine in which I shared a screen shot of my book at number one on Amazon's hot new releases page. Here is the end of her lecture:
"Here is what I see and so it is time someone told you I think. One the paint thing [the picture of my painted face] is a bit much and I read all your wall had to say!! Sadly at your age do grow up and get over yourself!! Your book is one book not the Bible get real and grow up! You child. You think this one book is the book to end all think not just so you know and if you have to post it to let folks know it is number whatever on some list you have a major problem called EGO and sorry to say ignorance of others and the real world!! Get over it John and get a life somewhere! Get over ti and grow up and don't be so self centered! You have no idea the power of GOD I don't think!! Everyone has had a hard life no just you to say the least and if your story is true then so are the million or so more folks who lead or have led the same life and do not need the attention you so crave!"

I show this example to illuminate the type of behavior that we all need to examine in ourselves. Her underlying intention was positive. She was indeed mirroring. But the mirror is not meant to damage. Only to show something that exists. When we become chiding, destructive mirrors, we do not reflect the big picture. We fracture it and cut the intended viewer.

When we become aware of our use of mirroring, whatever it is, we can make informed choices that effect positive changes for those we encounter. Then we help each other and ourselves to the next step which is collective awareness.
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