|Window washer at a children's hospital|
Both are perceived differently with the eye and, standing in front of either, each only allows one dimension to be seen. In the same way, we say that "the eye is the window to the soul" and, as eyes go, I believe that people are generally either a window, or a mirror. Window eyes see outside of themselves. Mirror eyes really only ever see themselves.
For those who's lives are a window, they see around them. Not in the sense that they see anything different, but the way they process the information around them is very different from those people who are "mirrors." They see the mom holding the baby and a purse and trying to strap the child into a stroller with three other kids hanging around and asking why they can't have a cookie. Nothing remarkable. But someone who is a "window" sees that scenario, mentally puts themselves in the position of the mother and thinks, "CRAP! She needs two more hands or she is going to exhaust the last ounces of precious patience she was granted for today! Let me go offer to help without seeming like a creeper...."
Window people see what is going on outside of themselves, and experience life through making evaluations on what it would be like to experience life as others do. And they act accordingly. They offer to help load an older woman's groceries, because they perceive that is something that is difficult for the elderly. They notice a child standing alone in a grocery store, and stop to see whether mom is nearby, or whether intervention is needed. They notice the car in the dark that is not turning over and do a mental check to remember if they have jumper cables in the back of the car and wait to see if the engine catches. When window people talk to you, they look straight in your eyes, and it can be massively uncomfortable because you kind of think they are looking straight into your soul. Unless they are awesome, and then you HOPE that they will look into your soul, and see what no one else can see. The good parts of you, and the parts that have never had the courage to vocalize, "Help me... I'm still hurting from something...."
|Snow White's step mom and her mirror.|
Mirrors also show off a perfect lipstick line, perfectly groomed hair and eyebrows, and how the stairmaster is doing its job with your can-can. This intensive detail mapping is not new. In Greek mythology, there is also a famous mirror that attracted a handsome young man. Forgive me for inserting wikipedia here for the synopsis:
|Narcissus and his mirror|
We learn a couple of lessons here, the first being, of course, that if you piss off a woman, OR her girlfriend, you gonna die. Though we hardly fault Nemesis for trying to teach the selfish Narcissus a lesson, it is also a true lesson that mirror people are often their own punishment. They lack close friendships, or have friendships that are only superficial and "good" when the other person is willing to let the conversation center around them, their thoughts, their desires and/or how they look. In my experience, these are the people who will announce, loudly, that they are "bored."
Window people, on the other hand, are rarely bored. There is so much to see, so much to do, and so much to know, understand, and experience with others. They don't tend to exclude, form tiny elite groups, or only identify themselves with one type of person. They realize that everyone has something to teach, if you will only be patient enough to listen.
|The Mirror of Erised|
It is as though she understood the mirror/window concept and figured out how to project what was inside a person's soul onto another surface. The results seen in the mirror were very telling for each character. It revealed what kind of person they were like on the inside. Dumbledor, for example, when he happened upon Harry, saw what Harry saw; a desire for the boy to be with his parents. Dumbledor is a window. He advises young Harry, "Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible," and ultimately, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that." In other words, don't be a mirror and dwell on yourself, be a window and live the organic, imperfect, life that is surrounding you. See through your eyes outward of your desires, and notice people - their needs, and where you can be a help and interest in other people's lives. Don't forget them. And don't waste your life just waiting for others to step into your fantasy and make you whole. Don't wait for them to come to you and make you happy; use your eyes to see others and help make THEM happy.
|Harry and the Mirror|
So, all things considered, it is best to be a window. And if you must be a mirror, use it to reflect light into dark places; make a short cut between your brain and your mouth for every good thing that comes into your mind; "I love your boots/pants/watch/haircut/eye color! Your child is adorable! You have on ONE kickin' outfit today. I loved your cogent comment. I'm still rolling it around in my mind. Giving my brain hamster a workout! Cute purse! I wish I had your hair..."
Cost you nothing. But it sees. It notices, and it sprinkles goodness in a land parched of goodwill. And you will have friends. And if you are good to them, and try to clean your windows of perception regularly; understanding that the person who was sharp with you may have just found out that her husband lost his job, or received a diagnosis that they are not yet sharing. Make room for possibilities. And if you will clean your windows, see the good that is around you, then you will not waste away your life wondering if you are perfect enough, pretty enough, or ready enough to get out there. Or to be judged of others.
|Harry Potter with his friends. Each a window, they notice each other.|
I have these people in my life, and I am eternally grateful for my friends. I don't have mirror friends, I have window friends, and I do my best to let them know each other. It is wonderfulness multiplied - like throwing open curtains in a dark ball room on a sunny day - the more the light, the better it is, and the easier it is to see and feel warmth. Mirrors rust. And we will all die anyway. So. You were put on earth to enhance this world. If you can, and everywhere possible, may I highly recommend that you be a window! You will always have amazing friends, your life will be rich, and your friends will hopefully give back and love you for seeing them. For we reap what we sow.