We’ve all seen two-way mirrors in TV shows and movies. Most of the time, someone is standing behind them watching a detective question a witness or a potential criminal. The person being questioned has no idea what is on the other side of that mirror. They are focused on what is going on in the room at that time. They may have an idea that there is another side, but they aren’t focused on that. What’s happening in that moment in time, on that side of the mirror is all that matters. How would you look back at your weak moments in your life if you were that detective on the other side? Would you judge yourself harshly or look at yourself with joy?
At least once a week I get a memory reminder on Facebook. It’s cringe-worthy for me to look at many of these memories. Some are pictures of my exes or friends, some are posts where my spelling was embarrassingly bad, and sometimes I even get reminders of inspirational quotes that make me shudder. I ask myself, what was I thinking? What was going on in my life to post that corny quote or an embarrassing picture? I immediately delete them so that I can ever see them again. But it doesn’t matter if I delete them, because I have found that no matter what, another embarrassing moment comes back to haunt me. I find myself in this black hole that sucks me in and keeps giving me constant reminders of how different I used to be.
Society has taught me to look at my experiences through the mirror side and always be the victim or criminal. I find that I am observing these posts as if it is a reflection of myself today. I keep seeing these posts without actually seeing the opportunities and growth. I find myself searching for the negativity, doubt, and regret. The funny thing is, in life I have always thought I was scared of someone else’s judgement, but in reality I have judged myself the harshest and usually in the wrong perspective.
What happens if I change my perspective and see how great it is that I have changed? What happens if I simply walk to the other side of the mirror and I no longer see my reflection? Sure, there may still be a small reflection of myself standing there, but there’s so much more on this side. I can see the growth that has happened in my life. How boring would it be to stay the same, to never reach your potential? My pictures, my surface level quotes, and everything else I shared with the world was important to me at that time in my life and made me who I am today. My mindset has changed substantially, and when I look at the bigger picture I am proud. Sure, I may have started off awkward, but now I am transforming into the man I want to be.
I can look through a two-way mirror from one of two sides, and what I observe depends on which side I stand on. So I challenge you to simply stand on the window side and look a little deeper. When you are embarrassed or ashamed of something from the past, or maybe even from yesterday—just embrace it. Look how much you have grown and think about how far you have come, and how lucky we are to even be aware of the change that has happened. Sure we will still feel embarrassment from time to time, but what is important is to bring awareness to why you feel embarrassed and how much you have changed. To grow is to change and develop over time, and growth literally signifies movement within an object. Just remember we can never reach our full potential if we don’t experience growth.