Queen Naomi, the Wicked Queen of the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale fame, has a mirror on her wall. Daily, Naomi regards her reflection and asks, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” The mirror, which cannot lie, dutifully responds, “My Queen, you are the fairest in the land.”
Until one day, it doesn’t.
Instead, it tells Queen Naomi that Snow White, her stepdaughter, has grown into a woman a thousand times more beautiful than her.
The Wicked Queen sets out to destroy Snow White and, in a tale replete with fairy-tale props such as a poisoned apple, glass coffin, seven dwarves and a handsome prince, gets herself killed by dancing to excess.
Your mirror reflects your voids and riches
That is the thing about mirrors: they can show you what you are not, what’s missing, as well as what you are.
And that is why a sincere friend, colleague or mentor is so important. They will speak the truth to your ego and help you realise what you have missed. They will act like the truthful mirror in the tale of Naomi and Snow White, reflecting what is missing inside you.
You may think of yourself as a full bottle of fine wine until someone helps you see that the bottle is empty. Then, if you accept the diagnosis, you can start filling the void in your personality. As a result, you learn wisdom and self-understanding, which are essential to living a meaningful and fulfilled life.
From the sages of ancient times to today’s coaches, all have recommended that you find someone to be a mirror who will help you explore the nooks and crannies of your mind and pinpoint the voids and riches inside you.
Select your mirror and ask questions
You might begin by identifying up to five people whose opinions you respect and trust, preferably from the different arenas of your life, and asking them some questions:
- What one word or phrase best describes me?
- What do you consider to be my most outstanding achievement?
- What do you value most about me?
- What one thing could I change for my benefit?
- What do you believe to be my greatest strength?
Whilst these are not difficult questions, they require a certain amount of courage and vulnerability to ask them. Emotionally, therefore, this may not be straightforward and accepting the challenge may be as rewarding as the answers themselves.
The replies will also show you who you can trust to be your mirror. You might ask more challenging questions of one or two of the five, for instance, by substituting “greatest failure” for “outstanding achievement” and “least” for “most”.
Your mirror might be a spiritual guide, colleague, lover, friend or anyone trustworthy and honest enough to show you the voids and riches of your life you cannot see for yourself