Mirror! Mirror!

What a misfortune for a man that his condition today is worse than yesterday.” (Al Hadith, Prophet Muhammad’s saying)

Speaking of mirror, I recalled my friend’s joke about the tricks to get a soulmate or spouse in a short time. He said that we just need 3 items namely Effort, Pray and Mirror, whether we are qualified enough to approach our prospective husbands/wives and take them as our soulmate for being happily everafter.

However, actually it is not merely about that matter.

Neither it is about the mirror owned by Snow White’s step mother – Indonesians called the princess “Putih Salju” – that always flattered her when the step mother freshened up while asking,”Mirror…mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of all?”

Though eventually when the mirror told her honestly that Snow White is the prettiest, the mirror was ended up into glass chips. Perhaps the popular Malay proverb “buruk muka cermin dibelah” (because ugly face, the mirror was crushed) originates from the classic European legend.

Looking at our mirror in the broader perspective means doing muhasabah, self introspection. “Please introspect yourselves before God calculates your good deeds (in the Judgment Day),” uttered Prophet Muhammad. Even the noble Prophet and his close friends when they were greeting to each other they did not just do small talks. They also asked to each other about what good deed they had done today. They asked about how many times their friends do worship (prayer, shaum or fasting, etc), and amount of their infaq (charity, alms) in that day, for example. Prophet Muhammad also required his followers to conduct daily introspection through al ma’tsurot prayers in dawn and dusk.

Have we today introspected ourselves and deeply recognized ourselves? Are we persons with positive thinking concept or positive self-concept or in fact we have negative self-concept? We probably deny it, but our behavior in fact proves what type we are.

According to William D. Brooks and Phillip Emmert (1976), which is quoted by an Indonesian scholar Jalaluddin Rahmat in his well-known Indonesian book entitled Psikologi Komunikasi (Psychology of Communication), there are five indications of a person with negative self-concept.

First, he is sensitive against criticism. This type of person is very easily angry due to criticism against him. For him, correction or criticism is the effort to jeopardize his dignity. He tends to avoid frontal dialog and eager to defense his opinion with various wrong justifications and logics.

Second, he is very responsive to praises. He possibly pretends to avoid praises; however, his enthusiasm when being praised can not be hidden. For him, any kinds of titles that support his dignity become his focus of attention.

Third, parallel to his likeness to receive praises or eulogies, he is also hypercritical to others. He always complains, disgraces and underestimates anything and anybody. He is not good at and unable to express gratitude or acknowledgement to other people’s superiority.

Fourth, a person with negative self-concept tends to feel not being liked by others. He feels that he is ignored. Therefore he reacts and considers others as his enemies that such kind of perception would not be able to create the warmth and intimacy of a friendship. He will never blame himself, but will consider himself as a victim of the awful social system.

Fifth, he is pessimistic to competition. He is unwilling to compete with others in the achievement. He considers he will not be powerful against the competition that damages him.

In contrary, a person with positive self-concept is also indicated with five items: (1) he is confident about his competence to solve the problems; (2) he feels being equal to others; (3) he accepts praises without any shyness; (4) he realizes that everyone has different feelings, behaviors and desires that public do not entirely agree with the same; and (5) he is able to improve himself because he is able to express the aspects of personality that he does not like about and he tries to change it.

In the reality there is no one that is purely has positive or negative self-concept. However, as far we can, we should have the most possible traits of positive self-concept.

So, when is the appropriate moment to look at our mirror? Yes, now, right now. Period. No need to wait 1 January, 1 Suro (name of a month in Javanese calendar), Islamic New Year, Ramadhan, Sinchia (Chinese New Year) or Saka New Year (Hindu’s New Year). There is no other best time except NOW.

Well, dear friends, actually it is also an advice for me, myself. I, who often struggle so hard to conquer my troops of weaknesses as a human being. Fortunately, one of Johari Windows – a psychology theory about five personality windows of human being – regarding my serious mistakes is not open yet because I think God still protects me that such a shame will not be widely disclosed. Thus, through this article, I at least attempt to share to others. Because, I recalled the message of Imam Syafi’i (a prominent figure in Islamic jurisprudence) that a knowledge sometimes would be more powerful and beneficially effective in the hands of the recipients rather than in the hands of the disclosers or messengers.

Thus, have you looked at your mirror today?




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