Mirror, mirror on the wall Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 08:25
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How will Bugs Bunny, bingo halls, ‘Bladerunner’, time capsules or tombstones help you to finally live a life that makes sense?

Ask Brian Vaszily, founder and creator of ‘The Nine Intense Experiences’. This guy has some pretty wacky ways of wrenching us out of any self-imposed stupor. He believes that people have forgotten how to be happy because they don’t deliberately put exhilarating experiences into their days. Instead they allow their to-do lists and other people’s opinions to zap their energy.

This time of year I can still vaguely recognise the word ‘energy’. Actually I’m at the point where I’ll gladly hug Brian’s Bugs Bunny, Walt Disney and the Brothers Grimm if that would do the trick. As it turned out, there was no hugging involved in the Brian brand of ‘intense experience’ that I picked. It was something like truth-or-dare without the ‘dare’ bit; a game where your own image in the mirror promises to give you the true answer to any question you might ask it. Yes, any question. It works. Just ask Snow White’s evil stepmother.

You don’t believe a word I’m saying about the power of mirrors, do you? Then listen to this: There’s a fairly well-known sociological study about mirrors, first published in the ‘Journal of Personality and Social Psychology’. The study was done in America during Halloween where researchers, posing as homeowners, greeted trick-or-treating children at 18 different houses.

At some of the houses the ‘homeowner’ would point children towards a large bowl of treats on a table, saying that it’s self service, but that they could only take one treat. She then left them alone in the room and told them to see their own way out. A total of 33.7% of the children took more than one treat.

At other houses a mirror was set up right in front of the bowl of treats. Again the ‘homeowner’ left the children alone in the room, but this time a mere 8,9% of children took more than one treat. Other studies have since confirmed that adults also find it more difficult to cheat when confronted with their own image in a mirror – even when nobody else is around. Especially when nobody else is around? Maybe not.

Brian says that we all tend to have the hardest time admitting the most difficult truths to ourselves. Most of the time we are not even aware that we are lying to ourselves, or denying the truth, until things really come to a head. How many times have you been faced with questions that, later on, you realised that you already knew the answer to? Is it because you didn’t want to ‘face’ the truth you knew?

Brian’s advice is to literally face yourself in the mirror. Then ask those big questions. “Is it time to move on?” “Am I addicted?” “Is this the right job for me?” “Ask aloud, answer aloud, and try not to take your eyes off your own eyes as you answer yourself in the mirror. Even if you have to squint through your own tears.” I guess this is what author Madisyn Taylor calls trusting your inner wisdom.

She says that it may be awkward to trust your own answers at first, especially if you grew up around people who taught you to look to others for guidance. Well, then maybe facing your outer self in the mirror might make things a bit easier. And maybe hearing your own voice asking and answering questions would be easier than silently going within.

By facing that person in the mirror, asking and answering your life’s questions, you are consulting your best guide – the only one who can know the how’s and why’s of your life.

So, close the bathroom door and repeat after me: Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .

 

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