There is a moment in every colour consult where I ask a client to sit, with no makeup, and stare at themselves in the mirror. For some, this is no problem but for many, it is a moment in time where they come face to face with all of their shame, insecurities and distorted ideas of their image and worth. It is a time of tears, apologies and bewilderment and I can only meet it with compassion, because I know the lies too well: The idea that there is one universal definition of beauty and that anything else is somehow wrong, less than or needs fixing.
Thankfully, most of my client’s walk out of their session with a new set of eyes to appreciate themselves, their features, the artistry of their colours and the way all of it is linked to their nature and internal wiring but regardless, looking in the mirror is always a distortion of reality.
WHY WE DON’T LIKE LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
Regardless of healthy self esteem, the experience of staring at yourself in the mirror can be a disarming, strange feeling, because we are looking at the reverse of our own face. Since we cannot read our own expressions accurately, we simply stare at ourselves with cold, critical examination. Unlike looking into the warm eyes of a friend and interacting with the intent behind their expressions, we seem distant and disconnected. Take a look at the photo below: Which looks more friendly and familiar?
WHY IS THE FACE SO IMPORTANT?
In human communication, facial expressions are said to be more important for understanding and connecting than your words, accounting for 55% of the message versus 7% taken from words. If there is a conflict between our facial expressions and words, most people will default to what they picked up on non-verbally. Also, facial expressions are universal (with the exception of shock and surprise in some cultures), so we have become quite good at reading faces accurately. We largely use our right hand side of our face to convey emotions, whereas the left side of our face is used for logic and thoughts. So when we look in the mirror, we try and read our face the same way we read others but all of the information is backwards. There is not the same emotional resonance that gives a sense of identity.
ENTER THE TRUE MIRROR
I recently learned about a device which creates a true view of your face, so you can read yourself accurately and see yourself as others do. It is called the True Mirror, made by John Walter of The True Mirror Company, by putting 2 mirrors at right angles in encasing them. He doesn’t claim to have invented it (there is mention of such a device in a Greek text around 40AD) but he did start commercially manufacturing them in the 90s after catching a glimpse of his own face in the corner of a medicine cabinet mirror at right angles and being overcome by the contagious the light in eyes from his own smile. Check it out:
Looking into the True Mirror, we can read our expression correctly without distortion and our response can be similar to the way others respond to us. This allows us to interact rather than stare at ourself, helping us identify and reassure ourself. Can you imagine how amazing the experience would be when what you see matches what is real? As with a genuine smile, the light and life in our eyes that conveys the reason why we are smiling is shared with ourselves. Like having your own little private exchange!
I have ordered one of these intriguing tools and will start using it with clients in the next few weeks and I will report back on the impact it has on myself and others. If you would like to book a session and have your own True Mirror experience, feel free to contact me here. I would love to hear what your experience of looking in a mirror is like and what you think about the idea of the True Mirror!