People see. They see what others are doing and do the same—or not. What they observe in others causes them to adjust their own behavior. People are always adjusting, and self-reflection is the vehicle to the adjusting.
Self-reflection has several meanings. It means seeing an image of oneself in others. It means reflecting back to others their humanness. Reflecting back and forth actions, ideas, and emotions, sometimes with thoughtful reflection and sometimes just reflection.
People are individuals, but group members too, and they reflect on themselves varyingly. The varying self-reflection is dependent upon age, society, and awareness of the soul.
Self-reflection of children
People start life through exploration of themselves and their close companions. The sense of self—one’s boundaries and one’s impact on the environment and others—thoroughly entrances and busies the infant, and leads to understanding of self and others. As the infant gains awareness of caregivers, unknown people, and animals, self-reflection begins. Comparing oneself to others, as a tool to learning how to be, is natural development. When the behavior of others is admirable, the child learns to depend on others, to desire their company, and to identify with them.
Self-reflection of sufferers
When the behavior of others is unkind, indifferent, or impatient, children’s development is affected. They lose their desire to connect with others when the negative reflections are internalized. Children naturally reflect what they learn from their caregivers, except when childlike wonder and happiness prevail. Caregivers who are difficult influence opinions of self and of the community. Close companions negatively influence when they model unkind behavior. Community members and other people negatively influence when they model unkind and unaccepting behavior.
Each person is a reflection of others’ behavior so that the suffering of one reflects over and over as others internalize and reflect the suffering back.
Relationship reflectors are the people in a relationship. People are highly influenced by lovers, close friends, and siblings. They continuously serve-return-volley to one another when the relationship is close. Relationships nurture and balance, and they are required for well-being.
Each person has a soul that provides a personality, likes and dislikes, emotional reactions, and connection to energy from beyond. When the soul is able to influence actions, the person is reflecting soulful definitions.
Living that is true to oneself is self-reflection realized. Living that is true to oneself is expected. Living one’s capabilities and gifts, as an individual and as part of the group, sustains. Individual:group:self-reflection—the meeting point for the soul!