“Look in a mirror and one thing’s sure; what we see is not who we are.” -Richard Bach
It’s 5:55am and I’m turning over to start the day. I stumble to the bathroom and begin to prepare myself for what may come. I used to dread those first 15 minutes. In the blink of an eye, those 15 minutes told me whether or not the day was going to be “good” or “bad.” To be honest, some mornings those thoughts are still present; but I’m finding that the difference now is the fact that I have a something to think about: it doesn’t matter what reflection I see in the mirror today because it’s the same as it was yesterday. I’ve been experiencing the world with this reflection my entire life and those first 15 minutes are just a starting point, not a deal-breaker. I don’t, and you certainly don’t, have to linger with subjective perceptions. If you struggle with this, I think it’s time for an objective-upgrade.
When you wake in the morning and finish splashing your face to wake; what is the first thing you look for and/or say? “Damn, I am really looking great today!” Or, “Wow, I’m ready to roll!” Doubtful. But if you are one of the few, and I mean FEW where this is your reality, awesome!
However, for the thousands, and maybe millions of us that aren’t blessed with that way of constant positive thinking, I have to ask you this: Do you immediately view what makes you unique, exceptional or incomparable? Probably not. We look for the flaws, faults, mistakes, negatives and things we want to fix or change. We never look at ourselves in appreciation for the extraordinarily perfect work that God has done. Instead, we look for how WE want to “tweak” His incredible artwork.
The reality of the mirror is that we don’t really perceive ourselves or the physical as they are; we’re only seeing our version of reality, not what’s really there. Objectively examining ourselves is quickly brushed aside in our society. We have to look like this person, that person or have a certain quality to be deemed “okay.”
My generation has often been referred to as, “Generation Me.” While I completely agree that taking care of self first, fame and fortune is highly stressed; I completely see it as a self-fulfilling prophecy of a self-centered culture. When we look at television, we are told by a variety of shows that if we walk, talk, dress, emulate or sculpt ourselves to the likings of the characters; we, too, can have our 15 minutes of fame. The end result? When we receive negative feedback from our peers, or that body shape or attempt to copy fails, we hold to and believe that we are not worthy and believe the subjective rather than the objective in our lives.
Our perceptions are tinted by our life experiences. For example, if your family and your experiences are “picture perfect”, you may be viewing your surroundings through “picture perfect glasses”. We’re all diverse according to how our experiences have formed us and our intelligence makes meaning out of all we experience. When your self-image is whole, you feel good and are safe in your thoughts. When something takes place in your life that emotionally leaves a mark, you can become self-doubting. If you’ve been abused or hurt, condemned, or teased, you may suffer the impact of that emotional pain, and feel shame, ultimately masking your true reflection. If you’re trapped in a subjective reflection, hating some part of you, it’s because you think that you are that negative, disgusting, unworthy, fat, ugly, stupid or unable reflection. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Unless you are able to see yourself in the objective and in a positive light, no diet, no work out and no amount of reassurance will make you believe something you haven’t truly grasped hold of. In order to change the subjective and unconstructive core beliefs that limit you, and feel different about your body, you have to transform the reflection that you have inside of you. The good news is that this self image or your reflection is entirely impersonal. If you don’t like the physical or what you see in the mirror every morning, try to view your opinions and reflection in a new light.
When you uncover the positive and objective view of yourself, your true spark may only burn minutely at first; but the opportunity for that spark to grow into a raging fire is ever-present. In comparison to a tiny seed: the seed of your life, who you really are, who you’re about to grow into and who you have always been, is now brave enough to break the surface for the first time.
It takes courage, time and commitment. You’ll continuously face society’s standards, critical opinions and your old subjective views. For us to be ourselves, we don’t need anything. We just need to be alive and breathing. We need absolutely nothing for us to be ourselves. So you and I can be ourselves without any precepts. If we first needed something to be ourselves, then is that something anything other than saying, “If I emulate this star or have a perfect, hot body, then I’ll be okay and who I’m supposed to be?” Bull. You don’t need anything outside of you to be yourself, ever.
I hope you can stop and evaluate your thought process and; develop tools to see why you might be at the point of questioning your true reflection; determine what is really important in your life right now and truly, positively and objectively, uncovering yourself and your true reflection.
“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”
-Marcus Tullius Cicero