A Mirror for the Mind
As humans, we need a mirror to see what we look like - without a mirror we wouldn’t know what our face looked like, how our outfit looked, if we had pepper stuck in our teeth. But our physical appearance is not all we need a mirror for. Our feelings need a mirror as well. Our brains need validation to reflect back our feelings so we can “see” them and make sense of them and find our place in the world. When we do not have accurate mirrors to reflect and validate our feelings and experiences - we get anxious, insecure, and feel disconnected. We can even lose our minds.
Imagine looking in a mirror and in your reflection you saw a kangaroo. You look down at your hands and know it can’t be right. But still, in the reflection is a kangaroo. After a while, you would begin to lose your mind. And we do lose our minds when people don’t accurately reflect back how we feel or try to make us feel better without allowing us to feel our feelings, which is the same as someone covering up the mirror so we can’t see. But when we find a mirror that simply reflects back how we feel accurately - we feel safe, understood, secure, connected, and SEEN - and our mirror neurons in our brain repair themselves - making it safer to securely attach and experience life.
The first step in finding that accurate mirror in order to repair distorted mirror neurons is being completely honest with yourself - taking a look at the good, the bad, the stuff that you think nobody would like about you if they knew, the stuff that hurts...the stuff that you’re not even sure about, but sits as a blur in the back of your mind taking up energy. The next step is figuring out who is safe to share those aspects of yourself with - someone who allows you to feel all of it completely, doesn’t try to make you feel better by giving advice, but simply allows you to get it out and says, “It makes total sense how you would feel that way,” or, “I feel that same way,” or, “I believe you,” or, “what you’re feeling is totally valid.” The third step is for the person who is fully listening to share about themselves, too. And then have their feelings reflected back accurately. That equal ability to validate one another’s feelings is where security in one’s self, the other’s self, and the connection between the two is made. The mirror has to go both ways - both people have to be truthful with themselves and truthful with each other. A one sided mirror creates a false sense of security, codependency, and causes more harm. But a two sided mirror heals mirror neurons together and creates a strong and powerful bond.
We don’t always have the luck of having an accurate and safe mirror - especially in a society that doesn’t accept anger and sadness - which are important feelings that make up part of our true selves. This society quickly tries to make everything better by giving advice, lovebombing, silencing...the list goes on. This is toxic - it’s not real. Tons of mental health professionals are even doing this because of our culture. And this culture shuts down the ability to mirror each others’ feelings and validate the human experience. So instead of validating these uncomfortable feelings so you can SEE it, we never look at them and we never truly accept our whole self - we don’t even get to KNOW our full self because we never let it out. We hide it. We’re strangers in our minds. And then we lose the chance to feel safe, empathize, and connect with ourselves and each other.
If you don’t have a mirror, you’re going to have to be brave and go get it. You’re going to have to be in the dark - it’s where the light’s getting in. You’re going to have to howl so loud until one hears you and howls back. You’re going to have to lose people to find the ones who stay. Find yourself, find your mirror, see your world.
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