As you look into a mirror, what is the reflection showing you about yourself that you didn’t already know? You may ask yourself, do I look good…today? How will others see me? Will they like what they see? All these questions are valid, from the point of view of that little self that you feel yourself to be. They are valid until they are not. Until then, envision yourself through this lens of the “Other”.
This “Other” is not necessarily a specific person, but it can be. This “Other” can be a romantic partner…or someone who you want to have in your life. Or, it could be your mother, co-worker, friend, or even enemy…the who is not important. It only matters that you perceive this “Other” to be outside of yourself. You have put yourself in the framework of thought, and it is through this externalized thought that you have learned to view yourself, judge yourself, measure yourself against.
This “Other” is a relentless critic; always available, always present in the form of thought. Or is it? Could it be that you have created this framework because you do not know how else to consider yourself…you? You have come by this thought process honestly enough. Those who have raised and nurtured you to this point in your life have done this with all good intentions, usually. For those of you who have experienced this otherwise, it is still your framework for judging your worthiness to exist. This is why it can be so painful to imagine all the thoughts you think others think of you. And, it is through this distorted and well-worn mirror that you have come to recognize yourself, at least the self that you think you are. But, are you this? Are you what you think you are?
Like a Fun House in an old-time amusement park, the distorted mirrors can confuse or amuse, as your mood strikes you upon seeing this reflection of the externalized you. And, it is through the everyday mirror of the “Other” which you have come to form your own opinion of yourself…fair or unfair, but this may not be truth. Opinion is always fluctuating, ever changing; it is the weight of this opinion that makes you unhappy. If you allow the opinion to be internalized, you will sink ever deeper into depression and self-hatred. But, it is only a thought.
You have become accustomed through your lifetime…or possibly multiple lifetimes…of looking first to the mirror of the “Other” for self-validation. By using the “Other” as your mirror, you try that “me” you perceive on and allow that perception to shape how you think and feel about yourself. It becomes a revolving door, you think you’re looking in, but actually, you’re not. You come right back out to where you started from; your mind has not allowed you to see within.