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Mirror, Mirror on the wall

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

There is an ancient Japanese fable. A woman observes two dogs exiting a room. The one dog is wagging its tail. It looks so happy and excited. The other dog is growling and snapping at everything. The woman decides to see what is in the room that so delighted the one dog but angered the other dog. When she walks into the other room she see's a room full of mirrors. The dogs reactions were reflections of what they saw. The one dog who was happy saw only other happy dogs in its reflections. Thus it was easy for him to emerge happy from the room of mirrors. The growling dog saw thousands of growling dogs looking at him so he growled back. The moral of the story is that if we want a better world, we need to better ourselves.

I have a choice in the friends that we meet each day. Some people are natural born complainers. They are never happy. Some people spout messages of hate. They fear the other. They feel that their way is the best and no other way can match. They distrust anyone who is different. Listening to these people might make one hate. If I paid heed to these voices of fear, I would become isolationist. I would look at the world in terms of us and them. I wouldn't see the good that is around me. I would more likely feel that God's gifts were given as a matter of entitlement not a true gift and no one was more deserving than me. If I choose to be with people like this, I become a mirror of their beliefs.

On the other hand, I could choose to be those who look at the world with a positive outlook. They look at build bridges with others. They see blessings as a wondrous gift rather than something that is earned. They look at the other and do not feel hate, but understand that we have much to learn from each other and that our lives are enriched by diversity. If I choose to be with people life this, I become a mirror of their beliefs.

The old proverb gives us a wonderful lesson of life. Be the world you want to be. If you live life where you are only concerned about you, you will find others who are not willing to help you when things get difficult. If you spout racist or xenophobic phrases, you will find that it is harder to live with others who are not like you. If you fear the other, you will find much to be afraid about.

However, if you look for the good in others, they will find the good in you. If you are willing to listen to the other, the other will listen to you. If you see your blessings as a gift, you will find more blessings in your life than you can count. You can be the world you want to be. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Blessings.

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