- Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
- What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?
- Do You Who You See When You Look in the Mirror?
- So what do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see what others see? Do you see what others don’t see?
- What do you see when you look in the mirror?
- What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?
Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
I had a bit of a surreal moment this afternoon when I glanced in the mirror before heading out for school pick-up.
I caught a glimpse of something on the side of my face, and I leaned in to check. What I saw shocked me.
I saw my face close-up, not over the bathroom sink a few feet back, and I actually looked for longer than two seconds. Who was this person staring back at me?
I hardly recognised myself!
Sure – every day I look briefly in the mirror when I brush my teeth and blow dry my hair but I am usually thinking more about the grocery list or the next email I need to write. After all, I know what I look , don’t I?
But apparently I was not as familiar with my own self as I had imagined.
Because today I saw someone totally different than who I usually see.
Today I really saw myself.
Today I saw that I’m a true grown-up now. When did that happen? I have a few dozen grey hairs and I don’t have a baby face with chubby cheeks any more (I can’t believe I still think of myself as a kid).
I saw a woman who has born three children and is now responsible for feeding, clothing, and raising them to be responsible and caring members of society. A woman who has known joy, loss, self-doubt, and gratitude along this road called motherhood, and still questions if she is a good mother every single day.
I saw someone who was frustrated not to complete the three things on her “to do” list because she got totally distracted with other tasks…
I saw someone who couldn’t wait to watch the next episode of Downton Abbey (and felt a bit guilty about that).
I saw someone instead of “just me.”
After I pondered who I was for a few moments, I then turned my thoughts to what other people see when they look at me.
When my children look at me, who do they see?
When my husband looks at me, who does he see?
When my parents look at me, who do they see?
When my friends look at me, who do they see?
When a stranger looks at me, who do they see?
Would these answers be similar to mine when I think about the person I see when I look in the mirror?
I was surprised to discover that I imagined other peoples’ answers would be quite different to my own.
The concept of “self” seems to be a strange one. I may think of myself totally different to how someone else sees me… but which version is more true?
Am I really seeing “me” when I look at myself every day… or am I thinking of myself critically… always focusing on my flaws, my imperfections, or even my childhood self?
Do I tell myself “that’s not important” or “you’re not good at that” when I would never think of someone else the same way?
Am I treating myself as a real person – with legitimate needs, a unique personality, and true gifts to offer the world?
Or am I just glazing over when I look at myself… dismissing this person (me) as someone I don’t really need to pay much attention to?
Do I really know myself? Do I value myself? Do I take myself seriously?
Have you ever had a moment when you realised that you weren’t who you thought you were? Maybe you were someone different?
Maybe – if you saw yourself from the outside – you might not be that bad?
Might you remind that person that even if they did not complete three things on the “to do” list, they were still busy with a dozen other jobs that made the household run smoothly?
Might you tell them it’s okay to set aside some time for a favourite television show at the end of a long day… that it’s okay to relax and do “nothing” once in a while?
I encourage you to look in the mirror and see yourself.
Really see yourself. Then look at yourself through the eyes of others and think about who you are to them.
I bet you won’t be perfect… because none of us are.
But I also bet you won’t be half as bad as you thought.
In fact you are probably trying really hard at this thing called life. And I bet those around you think of you a lot differently – and a lot better – than you think of yourself.
Go on, take a look.
Who do you see?
What would you to say to that woman? Would you be kinder to yourself, looking from the outside?
What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?
What do you see when you look in a mirror? “Myself, of course,” you reply. But what is your self?
Strictly speaking, when you look in a mirror, you see a face that you recognize as your own. This in and of itself is a remarkable feat—other animals generally can't do this. A dog looking in a mirror sees another dog. (At least, that’s what we infer from observing its behavior.) Human infants don’t seem to recognize their own faces, either.
But recognizing yourself is more than just identifying the face in the mirror as your own.
When you flip through your photo album, you see yourself in that snapshot of a toddler on a tricycle, that picture of a grade-schooler standing behind a science fair project, the high school yearbook portrait of an awkward adolescent, and that photo of a svelte young adult in a college graduation gown. None of these look the face staring back in the mirror. Yet somehow your self ties all these disparate persons together.
The concept of self is related to a number of ideas that include mind and consciousness.
As Israeli neurobiologist Yochai Ataria points out, the subjective experience of a self that transcends the body is so compelling that it simply cannot be dismissed.
And yet all evidence indicates that this experience of self somehow emerges from the electrochemical activity of that three-pound blob of fat and protein inside your cranium. When the brain dies, so does the self.
When I ask my Introduction to Psychology students where their mind is, they simply point to their heads. And asking, “Where is your self?” elicits a similar response.
Many people today accept—without much thought—that their experience of consciousness, mind, and self comes from their brain.
First-year students often use the words “brain” and “mind” interchangeably, and it takes a few semesters of psychology to grasp the difference.
Nevertheless, when we get to the chapter on states of consciousness, these very same students report experiences that contradict their belief that brain equals mind.
The out-of-body experience (OBE) is one such example. In OBE, people experience themselves rising above and hovering over their physical body.
Hallucinogens can induce out-of-body experiences, but some people have drug-free OBEs.
You may have never had an OBE, but you’ve ly experienced a milder dissociation between body and mind. In cases of extreme trauma or pain, many people report a sense that they've stepped outside of their body, becoming an outside observer of their own experience.
Some people even deal with tedium this way. In my school days I would sometimes dissociate in class as the teacher droned on and on.
(Now that I’m a professor, I notice that when I'm talking too much, my students reach for their cell phones—another form of dissociation, perhaps.)
A subjective experience may be compelling, but that doesn’t mean it’s real.
The perceptual illusions that regularly spread through social media clearly demonstrate that subjective experience doesn’t always match physical reality: Was that dress really gold-and-black, or blue-and-white? Still, we can’t dismiss our sense of self as just an illusion. It probably is, but the important question is how the brain produces it—and why?
In a recent article, Ataria argued that our sense of self derives from language. We use language to communicate with other people and to think to ourselves.
At around age 2 or 3, children begin talking out loud in a way that’s clearly not intended to communicate to others. They seem to use this self-talk to direct their own behavior.
Within a few years, they learn to turn that self-talk inward, and from then on they maintain an internal monologue instead.
We all engage in this inner speech. When we read, we hear our own voice speaking the words. When we work on a problem, we talk out the steps in our head. As we go through the day, we make comments about the people we meet that we’d never dare say out loud. This running monologue inside the head, according to Ataria, is what constitutes the self.
I find this idea intriguing, because it helps differentiate the interrelated concepts of consciousness, mind, and self. Most psychologists agree that all organisms with a nervous system experience at least a minimal level of consciousness.
That is, they’re aware of their surroundings and can respond appropriately.
Animals with complex nervous systems and highly developed brains, such as mammals, ly have a vivid conscious experience that includes an awareness of the external world and an inner experience of memories and emotions.
It seems quite ly, then, that your dog has a rich mental life. In other words, it has a mind. But dogs don’t speak, so there’s no reason to assume that canines have an inner monologue. Thus, we can say the dog has no self. And that’s why, when a dog looks in a mirror, it sees another dog.
Language gives us the ability to create a narrative that ties together all the experiences in our life into a coherent whole. We identify this self-story as our core essence. Although our bodies change over time, we experience the self as immutable. And that’s why, when we look in mirror, we see someone we know.
Ataria, Y. (2016). Body without a self, self without a body. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 1, 29-40.
David Ludden is the author of The Psychology of Language: An Integrated Approach (SAGE Publications).
Do You Who You See When You Look in the Mirror?
I am not talking about the glass mirror that you look in every morning before you leave the house. Not the one that you get dressed in front of and put on a nice suit or dress, and then stand and evaluate what you see.
Not the one that reflects the mask you put on before you face the outside world and portray a role that you are playing in this lifetime. Whether that is of a CEO, Director, Associate, or mother — doesn't really matter. It's a role.
It's a role that many of us define ourselves by. We even introduce ourselves leading with our titles. It goes something this, “Hello, my name is… I am the Director of Technology at… or I am a stay-at-home mom… or I am the CEO of…
” You then proceed to have a conversation that consists of an information exchange that is mostly transactional and more importantly, unmemorable.
I am talking about the Mirror of Authenticity — your Soul's Mirror. This mirror shows the reflection of yourself when you feel no one is looking — your true essence.
It's not the reflection of the person that gets ready and puts on the mask that they feel others want to see. This mirror's reflection never hides, it never lies and is your true self.
We are so fearful to glimpse into this mirror as we are not sure if we will be good-enough or even worse, that we are less than.
It is so much easier to look in the other mirror where we can play dress up and don the apparel that we feel will get picked up by the various boutiques and department stores when we do our daily walk down the runway of life.
There is one trick, however, with this Mirror of Authenticity. You will only see the reflection from this mirror with your eyes closed. Being that this is your Soul's Mirror, it is within you and not outside of you. It is also unique to you.
You cannot buy this mirror at a store or borrow one from a friend. You will only see your true self when you are blind to the external thoughts, opinions, expectations and standards of others.
A sense of anxiety comes over some people when they are asked to close their eyes.
When you sit in silence, you are immediately transported within and there is an engagement of a key system within your Nervous System and a disengagement of another.
Your Parasympathetic Nervous System — which lowers your sense of stress and blood pressure — is engaged, while your Sympathetic Nervous System which controls your fight or flight responses and stress producing emotions, is virtually shut down.
When done consistently, even sitting for a few minutes in silence while simply observing your breath without controlling it, is very effective in getting to know your true self. This is where the process of Self-Reflection is initiated and Self-Awareness emerges.
A person that eloquently speaks about Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness is Deepak Chopra. His recently released book, The Future of God, discusses this very topic and its importance.
This book provides a very practical path to understanding our own place in the universe and takes the reader on a “journey of the spirit” through Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness.
If you are interested in digging deeper within your unique self and getting closer to your highest self, I highly encourage you to get this book.
After you have initiated this process of Self-Reflection you must be mindful not to judge yourself too harshly or with someone else's yardstick.
You should acknowledge and greet your true self with open arms and embrace all aspects that you see — the good, the bad and the ugly. It is only when we do this that we can begin any true transformation.
Doing anything other than that, is just going through the motions and will not benefit you.
The beauty of the Mirror of Authenticity is that you can access it anytime you are willing to surrender and be honest with yourself.
You could choose to look in it every day and marvel at the subtleties within you that are transforming, or you could decide to not do it as often.
The one thing that is certain if you choose to look into your soul's mirror as a matter of daily practice: eventually it will be whom you see, not what you see — and there will be nothing more beautiful.
For more inspiration, connect with Alka Dhillon on ; ; Instagram; Blog; and Linkedin.
So what do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see what others see? Do you see what others don’t see?
How many times have we had a conversation about what another sees in us that we don’t quite believe? Maybe a comment has been made about a strength or conviction shining through and we’ve answered back rejecting the compliment.
How many times has someone complimented another by saying they wished they could handle a situation more that person? Then unfortunately the answer back was self-defeating, with something along the lines of the fact they just did what needed to be done.
So today, I challenge us all to look in that mirror. I mean really look in the mirror.
There may be a person looking back at us who has had the strength to dig deeper than the lines etched on their face. Each line that we see on our faces is one that has been earned. There may be laugh lines. There are probably a few worry lines.
Are there lines on that forehead or crow’s feet around those eyes? Perhaps there are subtle creases that run from those cheeks to that smile or frown. Some of us have a ton of lines. They are finely etched and they each have a story to share.
In some cases it is easy to see a person who laughs a lot just by where those wrinkles are placed. Or the worry on a person’s face by the way that their forehead will furrow with concern.
The finely drawn map on one’s face can easily give an indication of a caring, fun-loving person, or one that has many thoughts dashing through their mind.
It has been said many times that eyes are the windows to our souls, and they tell our story in ways that our words never will.
Looking into a set of eyes, what is being projected back? Are they big, soulful eyes? Are they deep and wondering? What color are they? Do they sparkle when a smile playfully tugs at the corners of those lips? Are they gentle in nature but can turn firm when it is called for? Eyes can light up fireworks against a dark sky when someone is happy. They can be soft when listening to the worries of someone we care about. others, we have all been known to cry a few tears when our hearts are heavy.
Eyes can give away some people’s mood instantly. They are the windows to our souls for so many of us.
When looking in the mirror, is there a confidence, arrogance, an uneasiness or something else? We’ve all experienced our share of heartbreak and disappointment. Some have known what rock bottom looks and feels , but have refused to stay there.
Is there a determination or understanding that says, “I deserve better and I am not afraid to go looking for it.” in that reflection? Or maybe that look says, “I don’t know about that but I am willing to learn.
” Is that person looking back one who is not going to let anything or anyone stand in the way of their reaching goals?
In some faces, it is easy to see the experiences that have brought them to this place in their lives. Perhaps one that can turn the most boring mundane tasks into a funhouse. We’ve all had the opportunity to be with someone who refuses to act their age. One who will laugh too loud. Smile too big. Say things too loudly. Hug too long.
Someone that will love the hell another—enough to tell them to get their head their a**. One that will hold a hand when it needs holding and kick an ass when it needs kicking. A person who is not afraid to venture out and try new things just for the hell of it.
A person who will raise their hand and say, “Oh, I don’t think so,” with an attitude to match.
Is this person in the mirror a survivor whom others see as a source of strength? Does that person have a warm heart? Will they look for injustice and speak up for it? Or is that person more comfortable in the background? Is that person someone willing to go to bat for what they believe in and those worth believing in?
We all know that someone who is willing to let others lean when they need to lean and will ask to lean when they feel the weight of the world sitting on their shoulders. Someone who has held a heartbroken teenager all night when it was called for and then has pushed a youth to reach higher for their dreams.
Is that reflection in the mirror willing to take time for themselves when their cup has gotten too full? Is it okay to say enough is enough when it is called for? Someone not afraid to let their kids, friends, and loved ones know that they are indeed loved.
Is that person in the mirror one who will take the risk to look silly and ask what some might perceive to be stupid questions? There are those who are not afraid to go looking for the answers. Those who are not afraid to be on their own. They are not afraid to love. They are not afraid to cry at a silly commercial.
They are not afraid to tell it it is. They are not afraid of other’s opinions.
When we take the time to really look at that reflection, we may just have someone looking back at us who is actually pretty awesome. Someone worth working hard to find, and someone we would be glad we took the time and effort in getting to know.
So, what do you see when you look in the mirror?
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Anais Gómez-C/Flickr
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
It’s the time of year for reflection. A moment to look back at the year that has gone and look forward to the year ahead. Reflection is an important piece of internal feedback – a way of learning and growing from my mistakes, noticing and celebrating my successes, and spotting whether I’ve wandered off my chosen path.
But reflection is more art than science. When I look in the mirror I can’t assume that what I see is an accurate representation of reality. My visual system is inaccurate and incomplete. My range of vision is limited to a narrow spectrum of visible light.
My human eyes can only see less than one percent of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. And I take the information that is in front of my eyes and I mould it. I don’t see I perceive. I make the information meet my expectations. I fill in the gaps. I can be blind to the things I don’t want to see.
I create the image just as much as I see it.
Because we perceive rather than see visual ‘illusions’ are everywhere. There’s even one in my latest chapter. Having drawn the image below I thought ‘I’ve made a mistake – that ‘rewind arrow’ doesn’t line up properly either side of the elastic band’ – but it does. This is just my eyes playing tricks on me – filling in a blank and leading me astray.
The openness to bias and interpretation is even greater when I’m doing something as abstract as reflecting on myself. When I reflect on myself I won’t be able to see everything – there will be things that are simply beyond my vision.
And the things that I am able to see will be moulded by my expectations. I don’t see my reflection – I create it. And what do I create? Well just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder so is ugliness and unworthiness.
If I focus on all the things I haven’t done over the last year, all of my failings, all of the many ways in which I am not good enough – then that’s what I’ll see staring back at me.
If I only focus on my successes, on my strengths, and remain blind to areas of improvement then that’s what I’ll see staring back at me. Neither image will be accurate. Both will be of my own creation.
Given that reflection is an important skill how can I reflect in a way that is useful and helps me grow? One of the first things I can do is to notice how I approach the task.
A key question isn’t What do I see? but What do I look for? When I look back on my year what do I naturally focus on? Do I immediately focus on what I achieved rather than what I experienced? Do I immediately focus on ‘areas for improvement’ and forget to celebrate or even notice the successes? Does the experience of reflecting feel getting a report card from a particularly strict school teacher or a glowing song of praise from a close friend? Knowing the answer to this helps me be aware of my own bias.
Having noticed how I automatically reflect the next useful thing I can ask myself is ‘How do I want to reflect?’ Whatever my natural default reflection process is – it doesn’t have to be that way. I can consciously choose to treat myself a parent who can never be pleased or a supportive friend who wants the best for me. I can choose what questions I ask when I look in the mirror.
If I want the ultimate lesson in reflection I can turn to the ultimate moment of reflection. One day I may be looking back at myself and reflecting on my life in the knowledge that I am near the end of it.
In that moment how do I hope I approach the mirror? Will I have learned to reflect with awareness and self-compassion? Or will I still focus on the many things I have failed to do? The many ways in which I am not good enough? My hope is that I’ll focus on the questions that are truly important to me.
Did I live my life in accordance with my values? Did I live my life as if I was the person I aspire to be? It’s the answers to these questions that help me grow and plan my path ahead.
This blog post was featured on the guardian website – you can read it here.
What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?
What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you see a person who is marvellously created, loved, chosen, full of potential and who has a great destiny? The leadership principle of the “mirror” invites us to be aware that we must see value in our self if we want to add value to our self. Author and keynote speaker, Denis Waitley explained the principle in these words: “Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself”.
So why is it so difficult for so many people to grow spiritually, personally and professionally? Do we under-evaluate who and what we truly are?
Last year while attending a leadership conference with John Maxwell, he shared with us that he had discovered, as he trained leaders around the globe, that one of the reasons that people fail to grow and reach their potential is low self-esteem. People just don’t see the possibilities that God has put in them. That’s why I enjoy investing my time in adding value to people and helping them discover the “untapped potential” in each of us.
Here is what I have discovered! If we have difficulty seeing value in our self, we will not have the determination and perseverance to invest the necessary time and effort to grow and reach our full potential.
For low self-esteem puts a ceiling on our potential and people are never able to outperform their self-image. I believe that what Proverbs 23:7 is trying to teach us “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
So here are 10 suggestions to build your self-image:
1) Guard your “self-talk”. We can be our worst enemy. Do you have a tendency to encourage yourself or do you criticize and put yourself down? Every time you make a mistake, I encourage you to use it as an opportunity to learn, grow and do better the next time.
2) Stop comparing yourself to others.
The only person we should be comparing our self to is “our self” because our goal is to become better today than we were yesterday.
3) Move beyond your limiting belief.
Charles Schwab said: “When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit of what he can do”. I love this phrase I saw in a friend’s church “Because you are more than you think”!
4) Add value to others.
Again this week I experienced that it’s difficult to feel bad about yourself when you are doing something good for some else.
5) Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing. For one of the best ways to build self-esteem is to do what’s right.
6) Practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of your life. My daily discipline is identifying leadership principles and writing few sentences of what these principles mean for me.
7) Celebrate small victories.
There are sufficient difficult challenges in a day that it is important to encourage and inspire our self by celebrating small victories.
8) Embrace a positive vision for your life what you value.
If you tap into what you value, it can and will inspire you to take tangible actions towards the accomplishment of your God-given destiny.
9) Practice the “one-word” strategy. If you had to pick only one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
10) Take responsibility for your life. Do you realize that if we don’t have a plan and purpose for our life, then we will become part of someone else’s! As a Christian leader, God’s plan is my plan.
I want to take this opportunity to remind you that you have tremendous value. You have been marvellously created, loved, chosen, empowered to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
You are a “change agent’ in whom it’s worth investing.
I discovered that if I understand my identity, then I am propelled into the destiny that God has prepared which is way beyond my imagination and my wildest dreams.