Next is the Magic Mirror Gate. Atreyu will have to look his true self in the face.
So? That shouldn’t be so hard.
Oh, that’s what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men find out that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!
-The NeverEnding Story
So, you know I make references to this book adapted into a great early 1980s movie, The NeverEnding Story… often. In this scene from above, you’d think it was never good to look into a mirror! Does the hero of the story make it through this mirror gate to speak with the Southern Oracle–to get the information he needs to save his world? Why does he see Bastion looking back at him through the mirror? What is this mirror about?
Have you ever felt like maybe you brought out anger in people–like maybe, that you were a mirror in their life–sometimes they saw what they were afraid to see and were hostile towards it… and therefore, hostile towards you. Or maybe they kept you at arm’s length? Sometimes, being a mirror will bring out the best and worst in others. But you have to know, it’s not you they are reacting to. It’s what they see in themselves.
Sometimes, people become the opposite of what they found very disagreeable and difficult in a past relationship. Divorced spouses become opposite of what they felt they were in their past marriage, even adopting some of the qualities they didn’t like in their previous partner. Children will strive to be different than their parents–to not make the same mistakes or to be someone better.
Sometimes we project the opposite of how we are feeling in life. Someone who feels no control in their life becomes domineering and control obsessed.
Sometimes, we project what we think others want to see. We project our insecurities onto someone, because we think that everyone will be or become what we most fear. We project onto ourselves what we think others must think of us.
Self evaluation is hard because you have to go there. You have to get deep within yourself. Is that not the scariest place of all? What lies beneath? What have you been hiding from the world? What have you been hiding from yourself? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
You first have to be raw and open with yourself. And when you are, that authenticity will flow outward. People will feel it. They’ll either be drawn to it or repelled, and that’s a good thing. If they’re repelled, they have their own inner work to do. This is not to say, you should be completely open and vulnerable to any and everybody. You should protect yourself from the harm others might willingly or unwillingly do…. “…Guard your hearts for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs
Perhaps, in putting some distance or reserving your whole self until someone has shown they are trustworthy, you may be protecting them too by withholding. I don’t mean to imply that you should hide your True Self–the Truth of You. If you know the Truth of You, then there’s no hiding it. It’s not telling people everything about yourself. It’s living with a confidence, that confidence you find when you realize you are worthy of love and appreciation–you have love and light and a voice to share with the world. And when you love and appreciate yourself, that love will flow out to others. It’s not something you have to force. It just is. And you Are. Real authenticity is that knowledge of Yourself and the peace to let others be where they need to be. But first, you have to discover Yourself.
I think most of us aren’t really trying to hurt anyone. It’s our insecurities that act out–sometimes, even hurting those we most cherish. But when you find those people that you can let the walls down with and be vulnerable, beyond the facade and even the authenticity of who you are–when we open up the wounds for someone else to see–when you find that person or those people you can be safe with… that is a beautiful place to be.
Our inner self–who we are and choose to share–that I think is the Wellspring. We all know people we refer to as shallow or deep. But I think everyone is a well. When I think of a deep well, I think of cool clear waters that you dip the bucket into, where refreshment is found. When I think of a shallow well, I think of muddied and lukewarm waters–where the water is running dry, or the well wasn’t made deep enough. Now, I think we are all both. You may never get to know the depth of someone. They may never reveal it. When you look into a murky pool, you don’t usually see much. When it’s clear, you see the depths. Oftentimes–when the water is calm–you see yourself. If the water is clear, you see through your reflection and into the depths–the depth of you and others.
I think we are all reflections of each other.
Some may think there is no darkness within ourselves. I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I feel there is both Light and Dark. And to truly accept one, you have to accept the other. You have to get to know all the areas of your deep, to know You. And when you find some dark corner within yourself, shine the Light on it. What do you see?
So if you do decide to descend into the depths of your heart, I hope you find Yourself. I hope you see the Light that reflects on the surface. I hope you let it penetrate to the deep and embrace it. And by embracing the Light, you embrace Yourself. You reflect the Light. And by passing through our own Mirror Gate, we find each other.