To learn whether or not there’s something in your teeth, you use a mirror.
Mirrors tell us almost everything physically about the outside of our bodies. Are we having a good hair day? Does our outfit look attractive? Are the rings under our eyes getting softer or darker? Do we look how we want to be perceived today?
Mirrors can be helpful for getting a glimpse into how we look on our outside, but don’t do very much for exposing us to what’s going on inside. They’re specifically not very helpful for reflecting what’s going on our minds.
To look around our thoughts and feelings we need other, specialized tools.
Most of us feel as though we already have a good handle on our thoughts. Why would we need something to reflect back to us what we’re already thinking? But, like the time you got a big leaf of spinach stuck in your teeth, you don’t know what you don’t know about yourself until the mirror shows it to you.
For reflecting your thoughts and ideas you need a mirror for the mind. And there are a myriad of tools we can use to reflect what’s going on inside our brains. Therapists and conversations with close friends can be insightful.
Undoubtedly the best mirror for your mind comes in the form of a regular journal.
Personal journals, like mirrors, allow us to see ourselves from our own advantage. They ask us to look and interpret what it is we see about ourselves, and all the beauty or ugliness that comes with it.
When we take time to journal we’re stepping up to the mirror and taking note of what we see. Are we having good thoughts? Do our ideas feel unique and valuable? Are we consistently thinking in the same ways we always have, limiting our ability to see new possibilities? Do we think in ways we want to be?
It’s hard to know what your hair is doing at any given moment, a mirror can help. Similarly, it’s hard to know what our thoughts are doing unless we put them in a place we can reflect on them.
We can’t get the food out of our teeth if we don’t first know it’s there. We’ll struggle to think in the ways we want to—creatively, more constructively—if we don’t put our thoughts into a mirror too.