October 15, 2021 | OPINION | By Finn Mott | Photo by Kira Schulist

Most people have phobias of things like snakes, spiders, heights, or even the dark, and while I do think those things can be scary, they are nowhere near as terrifying as reflections. Let me further explain. Each and every one of us has been raised on a set of reflections from our past. These reflections infiltrate our realities and often intoxicate the present with corrupt models and ideas. 

I believe that reflections of others are making it harder and harder for us to see ourselves in the mirror. Nowadays, it is more common for somebody to feel insecure and uncomfortable than proud and confident when seeing their own reflection.

This stems from the infinite reflections that are being projected on all forms of media and advertising. Although most of us are very aware of this problem, our subconscious is unable to prevent it from influencing our mental states, self-efficacy, and our ability to see ourselves in a positive manner.

Reflections remain at the surface level with respect to body image, race, gender, and every other physical characteristic. Reflections also work on the deeper, individual level in comparing one to another.

As students at a prestigious school, it is normal to feel a sense of competition to do your best in contrast with others. Some of these sensations may include feeling a pressure to be in a romantic relationship, being “successful,” having a plan with what you want to do for the rest of your life, and so on. Simply, there are reflections everywhere telling us how to live our lives. 

So, how do we get outside of these reflections when they are constantly surrounding us?

How does one escape the endless mirroring of society?

I argue that moving beyond our reflections starts with recognizing our own faces. What I mean by this is understanding where you come from, who you are now, and seeing how others interact with you. 

Looking in on yourself is one of the most challenging tasks a person can undertake, but it is also one of the most rewarding. As you move throughout your life and encounter new situations, instead of looking out for resolution, look inward. 

This is much easier said than done, but from personal experience I have found that looking toward society for answers during distress has only brought more confusion and chaos. However, through looking into your own reflection, you can experience a profound sense of growth, personal expansion, and identity formation. 

You see, how will we ever be able to evolve if we are never told it is okay to be ourselves? Social media makes it too easy to take somebody else’s view and project it onto ourselves as normal. 

Plain and simple, it scares me how susceptible modern youth are to these corrupted reflections. At the core of this issue lies a rising lack of authenticity in identity because fewer reflections are being cast as socially acceptable. 

As a community, it is time to become aware of our own replications of reflections that are limiting not only mental well-being, but happiness and authenticity to our true selves. 

We all have fears, and one of mine is the series of endless reflections that dictate how I should live my life. For many young people, including myself, these make it harder to see our own faces as worthy in the mirror. It sparks bodily discomfort physically and emotionally that stems from a central expectation. 

We do not all see the same colors, so it is time that we stop treating each other as one in the same. Our bodies are sacred because they do not reflect the same silhouette. 

The answers to your fears do not live outside. They live in the deepest, darkest, tiniest corners of your being. This is your reflection, and to fully get beyond it you need to see it for what it truly is. 

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