Today I must have felt a bit nostalgic for the days of my childhood because out of nowhere, I began to sing Diana Ross song “Mirror,Mirror”. I used to love watching Diana Ross as she let her hair flow singing, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I thought you said you had the answers to it all, You never told me I was gonna take a fall, Mirror, Mirror, Mirror on the wall.” Of course at the time of the release of this song, I was too young to understand the meaning behind the lyrics. In my young mind, I thought Diana Ross was the black Snow White and the song was the theme song to the new movie. Did I mention that “The Wiz” was my all time favorite movie. I digress, please allow for me to continue.
So, this morning I am singing the song and I decide to look for the video so I can remember the rest of the lyrics. I wanted to understand the true meaning behind the song. If I can get on my behavioral scientist soapbox for a moment, let me just remind everyone of how our childhood memories can often be distorted. We encode information through our knowledge and understanding of an experience. Our perceptions of words or events can be distorted as we attempt to recall memories through the lens of our youthful mind. Memory distortion and false memories is a hot topic in the legal and behavioral science arena. I am describing a very mild variation of the issue however it is very relevant. My attempt to sing the song was inhibited by my limited callback and understanding of the lyrics. I was 5 or 6 years old when I first heard this song and the only reason I recalled the song at all was because the repetition of the chorus was ingrained in my brain and I related the chorus to the evil stepmother and her mirror in the story of Snow White.
Well, I found the song on Youtube along with the lyrics and it was disappointing to find that it was not a theme song to Disney’s black version to Snow White. (Side Bar…I copyright the idea of a black Snow White movie using Diana Ross’s song…now back to our discussion) The lyrics express the disillusionment one feels by the fairy tale story of love. This brings about an important discussion about relationships because many of us have read the fairy tales of how a princess finds her prince and they live happily ever after during our childhood. We subscribed to this story often imagining ourselves as that princess who will eventually find our prince living the picture perfect life with no more problems to overcome or evil witches to combat. Diana Ross is echoing our emotions and accusations of how we were lied to as we follow the prescribed way of living that is supposed to bring about the happiness that we desire. She is calling out that “Mirror” who was feeding her lies for so long that before she knew it, she physically grew older while her young heart yearned for the love that she was promised.
|Diana Ross in "Lady Sings the Blues"|
I know that I am opening a can of worms by bringing about this discussion but it is necessary because many men and women subscribe to a certain ideology about relationships that is causing internal and external conflict. We need to go on a journey of self-discovery that helps us to change our distorted way of thinking about who we are as individuals and our roles in relationships. I had to learn that I am not Diana Ross (I am having a hard time with that reality…. I am still holding on to my Diana Ross wig…again…I digress). I had to learn that Diana Ross is a creation of Motown and even she had to go on her own journey of self-discovery. We have to stop viewing ourselves through rose colored lens, learn about our personality characteristics and how our behavior impacts our lives and our relationships. When there is conflict in relationships, those who are involved must remember that both parties participate in the success or failure of the relationship. We should not allow ourselves to have distorted or false memories about our relationships that will cause us more harm in relationships. Conflict resolution can come about when there is an open discussion about each person’s philosophy on relationships and behavioral tendencies. The basic foundation of success in any relationship is built upon mutual understanding, acceptance, and respect for those involved. A successful relationship never comes about through accusations and further discussion of past transgressions.
I can go on and on about the "Mirror" and how can be representative of how we reflect our ideologies in relationships and become upset when those within the relationship do not cosign on our way of thinking. I can say that Diana is not upset with the "Mirror", she is actually expressing anger at herself for continuing with an unsuccessful way of thinking and she finally came to the realization of the error of her ways. I can say many things about the attempt to blame others (in this case inanimate objects) for our downfalls. The most important thing that must be done when one looks into the mirror and sees their reflection is to reach a level of self-awareness and self-acceptance. Through self-awareness and self-acceptance, the reflection will reveal the truth about oneself and their relationships.
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