The mirror comes as both a sequel and precursor to my article about choosing to reach or settle in a relationship. For more details you can read it here.
Centrally based around notions of reflexive self-perception 'The Mirror' is a concept that explores self-evaluation via a third party. It’s a confronting idea, one that twists the mind inside out until you feel it cannibalize.
In the most basic sense the mirror means this: what you see is who you are.
A relationship always holds a mirror up to you; your values, characteristics and sense of self are constantly on display, and often compromised. How clear you see into this mirror it is dependent on your own vision, level of self-awareness and willingness to understand yourself.
The mirror theory encompasses all of relationships in your life; everything you like in another person is something that you like in yourself, and comparatively, those things that irritate you (in another) are a subconscious translation of what frustrates you about yourself. In an intimate relationship the effect of time and proximity means that this is exposure is intensified. When you form a close connection you stand to become intimately acquainted with yourself also. Your flaws, your neuroses and your unique quirks are all illuminated by this reflection. This can be difficult to comprehend, because we’re often shut off to being openly perceptive of ourselves. As humans we’re quick to point a finger but less happy to cross-examine our own behaviours.
Whether you choose to reach or settle in a relationship, the mirror remains in place. The type of relationships you have only show how much you are willing to place yourself at the forefront of (constructive) criticism for improvement or demise.
With a reacher the mirror is highly visible because part of reaching goals (which is instrumental to the reachers success and happiness) is the continual process of evaluating progress. In an intimate relationship self-evaluation encourages consideration of the ability for you to achieve goals, and of how your partner helps or hinders this progression. A reacher is always measuring themselves and their successes and as a by-product of this analysis, you’ll be doing it too.
In a relationship where settling is commonplace the mirror is still present but subconsciously abandoned. Settlers often use the relationship function as a shield from looking into a mirror. If they are unhappy on a personal level, they can use their relationship as a distraction from reality. In particularly problematic scenarios a relationships will become abusive as a result of a partner being a mirror to deeper insecurities.
The way to counter a destructive effect in any type of relationship is to always self awareness and introspection. If something upsets you, ask why, if it frustrates you then question it and if someone treats you badly, don’t forget tease out the reasons behind it.
In the end, through relationships of all types the way someone makes you feel is directly relative to how you feel about yourself.