Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

The best advice I have received over the course of my life has come from my mom and dad, much of it in my early years – important lessons like listening carefully while others speak, treating everyone the way I wish to be treated, and their precious words “remember that no one is better than you and you are better than no one.” My parents taught my brother and me invaluable lessons about trust, unconditional love, respect, compassion, generosity and many important qualities that I still admire in the way they have lived their lives. For all of the wisdom they have shared, I am deeply grateful.

A few years ago, totally out of the blue, my mother gave me a bit of advice that surprised me, partially because I could not tell immediately if she were serious and partially because it gave me a new insight into the wonderful woman she is. “Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say HELLO,” my mom advised. She nodded for emphasis and added, “I do it every day. I look myself straight in the eyes and say ‘Hello, Kathryn!’”

Really? I studied her face and could tell that she was completely serious, but I had no idea how to respond to her suggestion. Patient as ever, mom smiled at me and said, “Try it sometime.” I said that I would but remained very skeptical about any benefit of this proposed daily routine.

Over the next few weeks, I thought about mom’s advice while I was working, doing errands or shopping for groceries, but never when I was actually in front of a mirror. Then one morning, as I brushed my teeth, I heard mom’s voice and smiled. I put down the toothbrush, rinsed my mouth and looked straight into my eyes reflected in the mirror before me. I felt a bit silly as I followed mom’s advice and quietly said, “Hello, Sharon.” When I spoke the words, something surprising happened. I connected with myself in a way I never had. Of course I’d seen my reflection in mirrors throughout my life but this time, when I spoke directly to the inner me, actually calling myself by name, I was totally present and focused. I felt intensely “at one” with myself and understood something new about who I am. And then I laughed and thought about how wise my mom still is.

So today I decided to share mom’s suggestion with you. Predictably, you may have the same reaction that I had when I first heard it. Lucky for me and perhaps for you there will be no awkward moment as you question the usefulness of this unusual suggestion. Distance and separation can be benefits of electronic communication – and two of its greatest downsides. Anyway, I hope that there is a powerful mirrored-moment in your future. If so, please let us know how it turns out. Mom and I will be interested in the result, and if you have been doing this for years we’d like to hear about that, too.

7 comments on “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”

  1. Sharon,
    I always wondered where you gained your insightfulness and wisdom . . . now I know! Your mom must be an amazing inspiration to you.

    1. Yes, MJ, mom is truly an amazing inspiration. Thanks very much for your comment. I hope that you are enjoying these final days of summer.

  2. i am so struck by this post. I remember as a child that used to love to talk the mirror….tell stories, making up stories, crying when i was upset with my parents…i guess i felt that it was just me and i could say anything. i remember seeing mom watch me from the door and smile. And now, I love finding my little 4 year old daughter doing the same. So, I can see and understand that moment of feeling really connected. Thanks for the post. I am going to give it a try again 🙂

    1. Thanks very much for sharing your story, Purvi. What a wonderful image of a child (you and now years later, your daughter) talking to the reflection in the mirror. Your comment has reminded me again of how very wise children are. Thank you so much!

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