Life Is A Mirror – What Do You See?

Image showing a simple wooden dresser with a rectangular mirrorWhile I believe every article I write contains empowering information, some hold more than others. This one lies in the “super empowering” end of the empowerment spectrum. If you haven’t yet encountered the life-changing wisdom expressed in the phrase “Life is a mirror”, it is my honor and privilege to be the one to share it with you.

The information contained in this article, if taken to heart and acted upon, can revolutionize your life. It has done so for me. It can do so for you.

So let’s get to it.

What Is A Mirror?

The best place to start is with defining terms. What is a mirror?

The word “mirror” comes from the 13th century French word “mirour” meaning “polished surface used to reflect images of objects”. Going even further back, “mirour” comes from the Latin word “mirari” meaning “to wonder at, admire.”

Today, a mirror is a surface which faithfully reflects or gives a true picture of something or someone.

Anyone reading this article knows what a mirror is, but I want us to focus on the spiritual dimension of the definition.

We’re used to thinking that mirrors are physical objects which reflect other physical objects in our physical world. And that is part of the definition of mirror.

But it’s not the whole definition.

Mirrors are not solely physical. There is an infinite array of non-physical, spiritual mirrors which we encounter every day. These mirrors give a true picture of us, not at a physical level, but on a spiritual one.

And since we are transcendent spiritual beings having a human experience, the reflections we see in these spiritual mirrors show us who we are more faithfully than any physical mirror ever could.

By identifying these mirrors and facing the reflection they give us, we unlock the widest avenue for spiritual development possible. By cultivating the perception that everything we experience in life is a reflection of us, we become capable of adjusting ourselves to change the image we see. Rather than attempt to change the image itself, which is impossible.

I have roughly broken down these mirrors into three categories:

  • Mirror of challenge
  • Mirror of place
  • Mirror of people

In what follows, I’ll expand on each of these mirrors.

1. The Mirror Of Challenge

Life has been called many things. Among the things I have called it are; a game, a dream, a story and a mirror just now. Life is all these things and more.

Life is also a challenge.

Challenges are a fact of life. No matter who or where we are, how rich or poor, young or old, life always finds ways to challenge us. There is no escaping from it. If you are a living being, you are being challenged. If you’re not being challenged anymore, it’s because you’re dead.

I’ve written about this idea in a couple of past articles, you can read them here and here.

Challenges are mirrors which show us what we believe about ourselves. The tougher the challenger, the deeper the reflection.

I have a personal example to share here.

Throughout the 2020 spring, summer and early fall in Canada, I went on runs regularly. I started my running season with 5 km at a light pace. This was enough to leave me sore and tired by the end of it. As the season progressed I gradually lengthened my distance and quickened my pace.

Running Is A Challenge To The Body And Mind

As I ran, I became acutely aware of my self-talk. Self-talk is the inner monologue which endlessly coils around our minds. I noticed that the more challenging the run, the more doubtful the voice.

Black and white image which shows 6 athletes running a relay race.

I would extend my distance by another 500 meters and my self-talk would ask “Are you sure you can do that?”, “Won’t it hurt?” and “Won’t it be better to take it easier?”

Until that season, I had never noticed how running brought out that little voice. This voice planted seeds of doubt into my spirit. If I hadn’t engaged in the regular challenge of running I would have never realized that it was there!

Running Became My Mirror Of Challenge

The challenge of running reflected my unconscious beliefs regarding what I was capable of accomplishing athletically. Running allowed me to see that, deep down, I doubted my capabilities. It showed me where my work resided.

And you know what the solution was? To do it anyways. Prove the voice wrong. So I ran and when the doubtful voice made it’s appearance I would think “The presence of the voice means I am encountering my limits”, “I am growing” and “This is where I need to be.”

In other words, I practiced “The Switch.” I reframed the difficulty of the challenge as something positive; evidence that I was growing.

Challenges reflect our deepest subconscious beliefs. These beliefs let themselves be known in the form of thoughts. We can’t control what thoughts bubble up from our subconscious. But we can choose whether we listen to them or not. Every time we ignore them and reach a new level of performance, the voice will weaken slightly.

Does The Voice Ever Go Away?

I believe it does, it takes tons of work. World champions in any endeavor can’t allow even a shred of doubt to enter their minds while they’re performing.

Champions have worked so hard they have replaced the little voice of doubt with a loud voice of support. And the only way to keep self-talk supportive is to keep working and improving. Work until you have every reason to believe in yourself.

The challenges need not be physical. They can assume any form, professional, creative, moral, educational, romantic. Artists who have found success speak of feeling fear of having run out of good ideas. They’re challenged to keep creating unique, inspired work, sustainably.

So the next time you’re going through a challenge and begin to doubt your ability, remember that you are being shown the reflection of your beliefs about yourself. What you choose to do then is up to you.

2. The Mirror Of Place

The mirror of place reflects the deepest parts of us which have to do with where and how we live.

I believe a personal example will be valuable here.

I went to college in Albany, New York. Albany is a small city, located about 4 hours north of New York City. I moved there from Mexico City when I was 18 years old and lived there for 4 years, the time it took for me to earn an undergraduate degree.

Throughout my time in Albany, I met a few people who spoke derisively of it. They criticized its size and its lack of any substantial cultural scene, they called Albany boring. At first, these criticisms influenced me, and for a while I believed Albany was a poor place to be.

Little did I know, Albany was reflecting my own beliefs about what made a place worthy of living. It wasn’t that Albany was boring, it was that the people calling it so, including myself, were boring.

A creative person who is open to discovery can engage with the world anywhere. He/She can create a way for himself/herself which will develop his/her humanity.

There Are No Boring Places

There are only boring people.

Thankfully, while in Albany I met some amazing people with whom I became close friends. Over the course of my college career, Albany became my home; a place of community and excitement. Had I focused on what Albany didn’t have; warm weather, culture and a vast food scene, I would have never met some of the best friends a person could ever hope to have.

This is coming from someone who grew up in Mexico City, one of the largest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Any new place has the potential to show us a part of ourselves we have never seen before. Going somewhere new jolts us out of our ingrained habit patterns. Suddenly, the way we do things becomes obsolete and we are forced to pay attention to learn new, updated habits which will serve us in our new environment.

Image showing a still mountain lake with a mountain in the background and a white church. In the foreground is a wooden cabin built over the lake with a boat docked next to it.

Whether those habits are positive or negative is decided by what we see in the mirror of place. If we choose to focus on the negative, we’ll get more of it.


Focus on the positive and get more of that.

Have you ever been to a place, had an initial judgment about it, and then been proven totally wrong? I have, and I’m glad for it. I invite you to reflect on your living situation and see whether your judgments about it are true or merely a reflection of you.

The next mirror is the most powerful one.

3. The Mirror Of People

This whole article can be summarized in the following adage:

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”

This applies to everything; challenges, places and especially people.

Out of the three mirrors, it’s the Mirror of People which has the power to reflect the deepest, shallowest, brightest, darkest, happiest, saddest parts of ourselves. What we see in other people is a reflection of ourselves.

“We are the light we see in others.”

The light, joy, beauty and love we see in others is a reflection of those very same things within us.

The dark, anger, ugliness and hate we see in others is also a reflection of the things within us.

I’ll give you a personal example.

I grew up with an absent father. During most of my childhood I saw him once or twice a week, at most. When he was around, he was usually sleeping. He left for work early in the morning and returned late at night. I don’t remember us ever having a family dinner over the week.

Now that I’m an adult, my inner judge is let loose whenever I perceive someone to be a workaholic.

Whenever I encounter someone who, I believe, focuses on work at the expense of relationships with the people around them, I judge them to be workaholics. I criticize their choices, both to their face and behind their backs. I let them know how I feel about workaholism; that it’s mechanism to avoid dealing with underlying emotional issues. I tell them that workaholism is the pinnacle of inefficiency; a workaholic will take twice as long to do what a non-workaholic can do.

All of this is drawn out of me. Why is that?

Our Judgments Reflect Our Hurts

Why do I judge workaholics? Is it because of something they are doing?

Or is it because they are reflecting something within me? Are the people I judge as workaholics reflecting my deep feeling of hurt for having been ignored by my father when I was a child?

Image shows a person holding a glass prism in their hand which reflects a small slice of their face, including their eye.

Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s not that the workaholics are doing anything right or wrong. They are being who they are. And my judgment of them is a reflection of the hurt I carry within myself. The hurt that comes from growing up with a father who didn’t give you much attention.

This is something I’m working on. Now that I’m aware of it, I can take steps to heal my hurt.

But if I hadn’t seen it in the Mirror of People I would have never become aware of it.

What do you judge others for? Is there something about a person that triggers your judgment? If so, have you ever taken the time to examine where the judgment comes from?

Have you taken the time to gaze into the Mirror of People?

What Do You See In Your Mirrors?

We all carry hurts. This world is highly efficient at hurting us as we live our lives. Challenges, places and especially people are the mirrors wherein we can see where our hurts lie.

The only way we can begin to heal our hurts is by becoming aware of them. This is why developing our Presence through meditation is one of the best choices we can make. When we are aware of what is going on within us at every moment of the day, we can identify what we see in the mirror of life, our virtues and our hurts.

We can then take steps to cultivate our virtues and heal our hurts.

And by healing our hurts we make our way back to ourselves. Our true selves, the Being who lives life to the fullest and courageously expresses himself/herself.

The less we judge, the freer we become.

I hope this article has shown you the value of gazing deeply into life and examining what you see. Do you see life as it is?

Or is it a reflection of you?

To our wealth and success.

Other articles you might want to read:


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4 thoughts on “Life Is A Mirror – What Do You See?”

  1. We have so much to learn about life being a mirror. I am excited that we can find so many different mirrors to look into.

    This is food for thought. When we take a deeper look at life, many of our activities are just a reflection of what others are doing. We need to have the ability to filter them and determine if its what we really want to do.

    • Hello Abel, thanks for your visit and your comment! 

      “The unexamined life is not worth living.” – I know exactly what it’s like to go through life without examining it. You make choices that take you away from the life which resonates with your soul. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s what some of us are here to learn. By treating every moment as a reflection of us; our values and beliefs, we begin to see ourselves as we are. This leads to self-knowledge which leads to truer choices. 

      All the best Abel,


  2. I really like how you break down the different kinds of spiritual mirrors. 

    As someone who has spent years absorbing every piece of information I could find on self-help, self-improvement, spirituality, religion, and mental health, this concept of mirrors is one I come back to often. 

    When trying to help others through their own challenges I do my best to be their mirror at that moment. Often times our own lack of self-awareness makes it difficult to see how the world we see is really just a reflection of ourselves. Because of this, we need someone or something, like your post, to remind us of that.

    • Hello again KathrynLuisa and thanks for taking the time to write another insightful comment. I truly appreciate it 🙂

      As you, I too have dedicated several years to reading up on self-help. It’s a subject I am both passionate and curious about. That’s how I learned about the mirror-like quality of life.

      I know exactly what you mean about acting as a mirror for others. I write about that in this article. Witholding judgment from others allow them to see themselves without the filters each of us places on them. This leads to more genuine relationships, which is supremely satisfying to any human being.

      I’m glad my writing served you, thanks again for leaving a comment.

      Be blessed,



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