They say that real maturity is achieved when your mirrors turn into windows.
The quote is one of journalist Sydney J. Harris and implies that when we look into mirrors, we only see ourselves and the things in our immediate surroundings, but when we finally decide to see the world through a window, the view is endless. The original intent of the quote was addressing education, but when you think about it, life is really just one big classroom full of daily lessons.
It’s deep, I know.
Much deeper than many of the other directional quotes out there about windows and mirrors, like: “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull the shade down,” or “You can be the candle that is the light or the mirror that merely reflects it,” and, my personal favorite and tad more lighthearted, Lil Jon’s “Get Low.”
Instead, choosing windows over mirrors is something that shouldn’t just be a quote, but a goal for all of us. So many of us are immature, undeveloped, or mildly primitive and it’s slowly killing us. Allow me to explain.
I recently took a small break from Facebook. I was fed up with the way people were talking to each other, the way in which topics were being presented, and the incessant whining by people who aren’t getting their way. The excuses, the protests, the protests of the protests, the tears, the cheers, the “my faith is better than yours,” and the attacks on people who practice any faith. The divisiveness, the racists, the ageists, the sexists, the capitalists – I was over it. I’m still over it.
We’ve allowed ourselves to evolve into this society of bubbles and classifications. We keep ourselves in these safe zones next to people similar to us. Politically, spiritually, generally – we have decided that what we see in the mirror is the correct way of life, that is the end-all be-all, and probably ‘the way it’s always been done.’ Then we become enraged and offended when someone calls a group of us all huddled together…a group. It’s totally insane.
While it’s human nature to seek others who are like us, I think we’ve taken it to the extreme. We enjoy people who share our same faith, or lack thereof. We want to talk about politics and economics and education and relationships and sports with people who share our values.
But it’s important to ask why you want to be – or stay- in the bubble…why you want to see your reflection instead of the outside? Is it because it is safe and comfortable? Or is it because you don’t want to consider that you could be wrong or uninformed and someone else could humble you and teach you?
We’ve decided in our bubbles that everyone on the outside of the bubble is the “default wrong.” How we know this isn’t clear, it’s just assumed. Somehow opinions, beliefs and values have shifted into the categories of “right and wrong” instead of “similar and different.”
We’ve decided that consideration and understanding of ‘another option’ is unacceptable whereas it used to be a way to acquire knowledge. It used to be how we made friends and strengthened families.
We’ve decided that if someone asks a question about our opinions, beliefs and values that it’s safe to assume that someone is against us. There is no innocent inquiry anymore. It’s an all out brawl to make sure everyone knows we are right and why.
But it is absolutely, unquestionably, conclusively killing us. We’re cutting out friends, cutting off co-workers, and telling family members to keep their distance. We take a step back or just stop returning calls because someone doesn’t agree. We are choosing to do that.
Divisiveness is not innate, it is learned. It is a choice. We choose to divide and I have no idea why. I don’t know why we see what is different about a person in front of us instead of what is the same. I don’t know why we use what is different about someone as a tool, an excuse, to alienate them.
The only explanation is that we all want to look in the mirror instead of out the window. Because that is what feels good.
This world is full of mirrors right now. The mirrors, in an attempt to affirm what we know and feel, have only become fences to keep others out.
The window is the better option. The window lets the light in. You can still be who you are, maintain your convictions and uphold your values while looking out a window. You don’t have to change who you are to do it. You just stand there and look…and listen.
Besides, if you have a mirror in front of you, no one has the ability to see in to learn from you either.
Proverbs 12:1 – “To accept correction is wise, to reject it is stupid.”