When you go to a place, especially in some closed spaces, you easily notice those around you who are constantly staring at the mirror, perhaps taking care of their general appearance.
Here you may wonder, does he check himself in the mirror for purposes of making sure he looks okay or does he look in the mirror and see himself as if he were two different people – one sees and the other is seen or is visible to those around him?
This might be confusing to some but looking at oneself in the mirror and the intention, to me, are both important. Is it not true that you must be observing things around you to survive, but you must also monitor yourself and be monitored by others so that you have a consistent sense of self-concept? Interestingly, we all know that without supervision, you will hit a car or starve to death. Without being noticed, you will have no history or sense of why you do what you do.
The idea here is really a matter of balance for our convenience – if we are looking for it honestly! Unfortunately, most of us spend a lot of time observing, constantly thinking about ourselves and how others see us.
We look in every mirror – if I may say so! We check our tags on social media and we’re obsessed with our identities... or aren’t we?
Hence, you should always focus on the world outside of yourself because it is linked to happiness, while focusing on yourself and how others see you can lead to an unstable mood. Is it reasonable for your joy to rise and fall, depending solely on whether you see yourself positively or negatively in a certain moment? Therefore, I see that this instability with time is difficult to bear and it is no wonder that it is associated with anxiety and depression.
And here I certainly don’t mean to ever eliminate yourself, but you can increase your happiness by adopting conscious practices like not judging anything too quickly. The rule here is to take a watch of the world and turn it inward. For example, if you said (this is awful), you just made a judgment about your feelings – which means you are now watching yourself (and assigning a negative mood to something out of your control).
However, some of life’s most intimate experiences come when you can monitor your journey without expecting some outside gain. Here dedicate one day and see for yourself. Start the morning by saying: I don’t know what this day will bring, but I will accept it (because it is a blessing from God). Spend the day focusing on things outside of yourself, resisting judgments and avoiding anything self-referential. You can even get in your car and go on a day trip without a specific destination!
Thus, each of us can intentionally alter the scale of time we spend as observers and as objects of watch, even without doing something ridiculous!
In the end, thinking of yourself as an observer is better for your happiness and guidance, than engaging in the fact that you are the one who falls in the circle of attention and observation and that this obsess over you permanently. Unfortunately – as I said earlier – many people constantly think about themselves and how others see them. Many have become obsessed with their identities... so relax, get out on that trip and don’t forget to save your way back!
Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and writer.