Old friends make good mirrors

Nov 10, 2021 | Insights

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‘The best mirror is an old friend,’ according to author Peter Zarlenga.

Take this engaging scene from a Jodi Taylor novel. Our heroine, the Nothing Girl, lies on a shabby old couch in her husband’s chaotic studio in the afternoon sun. Hovering on the threshold between wakefulness and sleep, she savours her earlier passionate night of discovery with her husband.

In another world, she does not realise her husband is drawing her as she dreams. She awakens from her erotic thoughts and, for a minute, fails to recognise the luscious figure in the charcoal as herself.

Her husband, however, claims it to be a near-perfect likeness of her in his eyes and, as it turns out, the eyes of others.

Often you see yourself, wrongly, as no one rather than someone. However, if you are to make a difference in the world, it helps to see the truth of yourself.

In a recent Global Gathering call, our leader reminded us that we are all remarkable people. In our quiet ways, she told us, we get things done. We make a difference. We are worthy of respect and attention, although we may not think so.

A few years ago, I held a coaching meeting with a couple to consider their hopes and fears. At one point, my client turned to me and said, ‘I wish I was a better wife, a better mother, and a better daughter,’ and burst into tears.

I was taken aback by this shocking revelation that this wife, mother, daughter viewed herself with near contempt. Yet, in contrast, her husband, family, friends and I saw her as strong, competent, vibrant and loving.

As coaches, we sometimes prevail on clients to ask five trustworthy friends or colleagues for their opinions about themselves. It is a powerful exercise in confidence-building and challenging limiting beliefs. As a result, we see a different reflection of ourselves.So, don’t trust what you think you see inside of you. Instead, find a mirror, knock out the dents, give it a good polish, and see your true reflection.

Photo montage by Maria Elorza

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