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On a molecular level humans are not very reflective. Shine at torch at a human and nothing will come back, apart from maybe a few inquiries as to why you’re shining a torch at them. The most reflective materials known to man are rather disappointing; Silver and Aluminium. Unfortunately for them they don’t have consciousness, or even a rudimentary nervous system – losers. We do though, and that allows us to be reflective in many other ways.
A common trait in people who show signs of mental illness is their level of introspection*. It is off the charts. I have a mental illness, which shouldn’t come as a shock to many readers given it is post 106 on a blog about my mental health, and I can certainly say it is true that I reflect heavily on every issue. On everything humanly possible.
I internalise everything first. If something goes wrong, it is all about what I could have done better or different to make it work. Rarely the opposite. This kind of makes sense when you fail an exam or don’t win the contract at work, but my introspection seems to go deeper. When I find myself querying whether I could have done something different when it is something I had no involvement in, like my looks or Donald Trump being president.
So given all this introspection I seem to naturally impose on myself on a daily basis, you would think the last thing I need to do is introduce a little more. What this blog has enabled me to do is wrap myself up in a big ball of reflective silver, like some kind of reflective super team. The most reflective material and the most introspective species.
I forced myself to blog daily for this reason, I wanted to reflect on my day. I wanted to think about it all day, and be more aware of what I am doing and what I am thinking. I think the young kids call it ‘mindfulness’. Whatever it is called; it is working. I genuinely think the more you try to understand yourself the more you understand others, the more you can empathise and sympathise. We like to think of ourselves as very individual but in reality we are all largely the same with slight degrees of difference. That means if something is happening to you or you feel something, then the chances are, the exact same thing is happening to someone else somewhere, at that moment.
This point is encapsulated perfectly in the movie ‘Night On Earth’, the movie is split into 5 parts, each in a different city at the same time. The New York segment manages to strip away all pretences of fashion, culture and society to show that modern life is an emperor with no clothes. Or, it is about a black man driving a cab, you decide.*
So whilst introspection and reflection can certainly drive me to the point of insanity on regular occasion, I feel the more self-awareness we have, the more we can contribute to society. And I love contributing to society, as long as I can do it from the comfort of my own home and don’t have to actually interact with anyone.
*Entirely made that up, I have absolutely no idea if that is true.
*But really the part about his hat – decimates fashion culture.
Read more, its good for you.