What Do You See in the Mirror?
A video I watched some ago about what people saw when they looked in a strategically placed mirror came to mind recently. I started thinking about the questions that were asked: What do you see when you are looking in the mirror? How do you rate yourself? What are you focused on and why do you react the way you do?
Most people had negative responses. And I thought about how I would answer similar questions. How I truly feel these days when I look in the mirror.
I thought about how I used to just perceive the outside like they did, observing only the changes that have come as the years have passed. How I only acknowledged the wrinkles or weight I gained over the years! And when I turned away, I never considered looking at myself differently. That it might be possible to notice I had grown in wisdom, compassion and expanded my capacity to love.
It was never on my mind. But then my favorite Winnie the Pooh quote turned up recently on my Facebook page! And tears filled my eyes. “If there is ever a tomorrow that we are not together, there is always one thing you should remember. You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think…”(Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne).
I remembered how I wanted desperately to believe I was braver, smarter and stronger than I thought I was when I was a child! Wanted for so many years as an adult, to have an image of myself that was better than the one I had.
Adopting Other People’s Beliefs
Like many people I know, I had grown up thinking I was so much less than I was. I tried to close my ears and my mind to all the cruel and unkind words I heard. But sadly, that did not stop them from becoming imprinted inside my mind. From developing into the beliefs I had about myself.
For the longest time I thought I was not enough—not pretty enough, not lovable enough, not good enough, not clever enough. And even though I now realize I was/am all those things, looking in the mirror over the years did not show me the truth about myself.
I turned away from my reflection and got on with my life. No different to those who have also struggled with low self-esteem and feelings of having been rejected, I pursued those things I thought would make me feel better about myself. I made choices I hoped would result in feeling good, but they only led to me being disappointed. I went down certain paths, only to find they took me to places I didn’t want to be.
But eventually I discovered what all of us who are earnestly seeking answers and peace find—the truth was right here inside me. What I believed about myself was what someone else believed about me. I needed to change what I was thinking.
Altering Your Beliefs
This was the start of my spiritual journey. I looked at my beliefs and questioned whether they were true. I opened my heart and found who I thought I was, did not match the real me. I adopted new beliefs.
I began to have no trouble looking in the mirror and seeing my true reflection. I found it easy to acknowledge the joy and peace I felt in my heart. It was shining through the eyes looking back at me!
As it turned out, I discovered I am braver than I believed, I am stronger than I seemed, and I am smarter than I used to think. And the person I see when I am looking in the mirror is whole, is loved and is full of love.
Maybe you are still working on knowing this? When you look in the mirror, you are not happy with what you see. You are disappointed and sad because you do not, or cannot see the truth about yourself.
Perhaps you were also on the receiving end of negative words and behavior that someone else directed at you? Or you feel you failed to meet someone’s expectations—fell short of how they wanted you to be?
Or maybe, like I did for so long, you are holding on to the seeds of doubt, which were planted in you when you were young? The truth is lost to you because you believe other people’s ideas of what is good enough. I don’t know.
I do know that when each of us confronts and alters what we believe about ourselves, what we see when we are looking in the mirror changes. We do not notice just the superficial but start to view the culmination of all that we are—the exquisiteness of our true selves.
So why not look again? Look past your physical appearance. See the true beauty of who you are staring back at you. Stop seeing what you lack or would like to improve. Start appreciating what is true about you. Know that you are courageous, wise, strong, and beautiful inside and out. Know you are loved.