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It turns out that a lot, as in more than half of people who look in the True Mirror don’t like what they see. It’s a big problem for which I have spent years trying to figure out. Below are some of the most common reasons why you might dislike what you see, and almost all of them are helped by becoming more familiar with your true image.
Reasons for having trouble with your true image reflection:
- It’s physically different from what you are used to. Sometimes by a lot. This alone is the biggest reason. In general, we like what we are familiar with, and there is really nothing you are more familiar with than your backwards mirror image. Its been with you since childhood. So its very disconcerting to have this your everyday version of you replaced with a new one. But think about it…you are the only person that sees you this way (especially the key eye to eye contact, which is so important for communication). Once you become familiar with the real version of you, you probably will prefer it, just like everyone else does. (google the mere-exposure hypotheses for the classic studies of this phenomenon)
- It feels excessively crooked. This is the second biggest reason for not liking it because you perceive your face to be really asymmetric. But its an exaggeration…any asymmetry is appearing on the opposite, or in the opposite direction, which essentially doubles the actual asymmetry, in your perception. Again, this fades with more exposure. If you look in the backwards mirror, whatever asymmetry you perceive there is all that we would perceive… it’s just in contrast that it is sticking out to you.
- Your face feels skewed, like a Picasso painting. I never saw this until one day I did, and it was because my eyes were tilted, a very common thing for any of us. But before I saw it, I just saw my two eyes and my face just followed normally. This time, I felt very skewed, and it was because my dominant eye was in the right spot, and the other was way higher, essentially skewing what I was perceiving. Very strange. What helps, in this case, is to make your eyes as horizontal as possible, and then just try to be natural.
- The new version of you feels so different, you dont know what to make of it. This is also very common, where theres a real mystery to who it is that is looking back, you are different emotionally, not just physically. This is the main reason we are doing the True Mirror in the first place – the true you version often has an entire range of experiences and emotions that you really should know about. But this can be very challenging, you may not have been ready for that. I apologize, it can be a lot of new information, but at the end of the day, the truth should be easier to know and understand than the alternative version of you.
- the new version of you isnt easier to know, for any number of reasons. This is just part of the equation that is so confounding for us, because the full range of human self-experiences is possible here, and in principle, there should be no judgement about it. All we can say is to give it time and more exposure, and eventually, your sense of self will integrate more with your true mirror self, and it should get easier to know and be ok with whoever you are. But it does imply working on yourself, identifying things about you that can use improvement. One of the values of the True Mirror is that when you do get to a better place with who you are, it will reflect that too, and you can believe what you are seeing.
- The final reason to not like what you see, and/or also, not even see any difference at all is that you are probably not becoming animated to yourself. We have a pattern of looking at ourselves in mirrors that essentially is a staring look…if you simply stare in the True Mirror, it’s not going to be much different emotionally or mentally, and it just feels different and awkward. the solution here, to really see the value, is to smile at yourself. Your real smile. We all have it, and no ones real smile looks right backwards, which is why we stopped doing it long ago during childhood. But if you can do it, perhaps with another person standing with you, or talking on the phone while looking, you can become animated, and see what that looks like. Turns out, this animation is what we usually like and love about eachother…not just what we look like, but who we are as our faces communicate.
So the upshot is, if you dont like it at first, give it a second, third, multiple chances to become more normal. then look for yourself, not just at yourself. Use it as a tool to know yourself more, to know what you are projecting to the world, and then face the world with a lot more confidence because you know what they are seeing.
John Walter 8/18