One of my favorite professors during graduate school, Dr. Cook, conducted a group activity during the end of our addictions course. During this activity, Dr. Cook provided each student with a small mirror, and written on the back was the quote, “reflect the light.”
Dr. Cook explained that as mental health professionals, we are often encouraged to “be the light” for our clients, or in other words, be a source of positivity and hope for others during their most challenging times.
Although it is incredibly important to model hope and light for our clients, Dr. Cook also mentioned the importance of reflecting the light that our clients already have. Many clients may seek counseling because they feel hopeless, unsure, lonely, or scared. Under such feelings is that light that they once had.
For this reason, as mental health professionals, one of our goals is to help bring that light back and serve as a mirror to help people see all of the positive qualities and strengths they already have.
This is just as an important goal in counseling as it is in life itself.
How can we, as people, serve as mirrors for others?
How can we help reflect the light in our children, parents, friends, and even strangers?
Reflecting the light can be as simple as giving a compliment to a friend or displaying gratitude to a coworker. Serving as a mirror to others’ light can help vastly improve self-esteem, self-worth, and self-efficacy.
I think this goes without saying, but 2020 was a challenging year (putting it mildly) and 2021 isn’t looking great so far either. Between the COVID pandemic, political unrest, and social injustice, many of us are currently feeling emotionally pained. Our lights have been dimmed throughout this previous year and it can often feel challenging to find that light in ourselves.
Yet, with all the gloom that has happened, there has also been a lot of great.
When journaling about what I felt grateful for in 2020, I realized that there have been SO many wonderful things that helped brighten my light. When we think of “gratitude” we often think of the big things- family, friends, health, financial security, etc. Although these are so important to find gratitude in, I often tell my clients to reflect on the little things that brighten our lives daily. For example, last week I felt grateful for sunny days, making a delicious new recipe, and for a phone call with my mom. Just as I reflect on my personal gratitude, I also try my best to show my gratitude toward others, in hopes to brighten their light even just a little bit.
I encourage you to reflect on how you can help brighten other’s lights, as well as your own. Fun fact:
February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.
At the bottom of this blog post are two articles that give loads of ideas for how we can brighten others’ days. Some of my personal favorites from the articles include:
Pay it backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
Practice self-kindness and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
These are just a few of the many ways we can brighten the lights of others and our own. Even though the world looks different now that we may not be able to hug our loved ones or even sit in the same room with our classmates, displaying gratitude can help make the world feel a little less lonely.
50 Fun Ways to Celebrate RAK Day: https://www.
randomactsofkindness.org/the- kindness-blog/2943-50- kindness-ideas-for-random- acts-of-kindness-day
How to Look After your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak: https://www.