Mirror Mirror On The Wall . . .

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What’s your first reaction to that face that stares back at you every day? When you see a photograph of yourself, what goes through your mind? When you stop and look around at your life—at what you do or where you live or what you have—how do you feel?

These questions have been on my mind a lot lately. I ask them of myself and I confess, I’m not always thrilled with some of the answers. Sometimes my response to any one of those questions can be less than overwhelming. When I look in the mirror or at the photos, I’m finding whatever flaw is most evident. When I look at the life that’s grown up around me, I’m often seeing something missing or lacking or somehow falling short of some hope or expectation or comparison to what I see growing up around someone else.

And I wonder . . . why is it so easy to see the worst when we look at ourselves? I know from listening to others that I’m not alone in those responses. I hear them all the time from people who seem to have every reason to look lovingly at themselves and proudly at their lives.

But it doesn’t’ seem to really matter what anyone else thinks of us . . . good or bad . . . The bottom line is always what we think . . . and the bottom line too often seems to take the form of harsh judgment or rather unforgiving standards that we rarely seem to feel we’ve met.

It’s a pretty gloomy perspective, I realize—and so I asked The Shower Team to talk to me about the way we look at ourselves . . . and more important—to help me understand the difference between what I see, and what They see.

First of all it should be clear that we never join you in these unflattering or negative appraisals of yourself—which is why they always feel so bad when you experience them. You are feeling the separation of you from You in those moments as your Inner Being or connection to Source refuses to go with you in that direction. You feel bad when you see yourself in those ways because Source never agrees with you or participates with you in those evaluations.

So what do we see when we look at you? What is Source’s view of you? In the simplest possible terms, when you see yourself as loving and lovable, when you see yourself as beautiful, when you see yourself as giving, when you see yourself as free, when you see yourself as successful, when you see yourself as creative and knowledgeable and competent, when you see yourself as thriving and expanding . . . then you are seeing what We see. In fact you
are seeing the only view of You that We ever see.

And so you might—and often do—ask, but what about these details that are “real” that I’m looking at? You can’t tell me they’re not true—they’re right here in front of my face. I’m not making this bad stuff up.

But, actually, you are. You are making it all up, including your conviction that it is “real” and that you are merely responding to some objective observation. The ‘real’ facts are that everything—EVERYTHING—you perceive as “real” is only real because you have agreed—usually with someone else—that this is so. So that if you look at yourself and decide that you are not pleasing to the eye . . . and you find the “facts” you need to support this view . . . then it becomes ‘true’ only because you tell yourself it is true and usually, because you find some collaborating story from someone else who has come to a similar conclusion.

What you are experiencing is not “reality” but consensus. More often than not, you have absorbed or bought into some belief—some practiced thought—that tells you what is good and what is bad . . . and so you stumble upon some apparent evidence of that belief and then fixate upon it . . . giving it more and more of your attention and therefore making it a bigger and bigger “truth” to you . . . until you are pretty much hung up on it and unable to effectively consider any alternative view.

Source never buys into those beliefs . . . the You you really are . . . always knows better because that You always sees you—and everyone else—from the broader view of you as an eternal and eternally bright, loving, and lovable being. Source can only see you as the radiant soul that you are, as the perfection that you are . . . and can never confirm or support you in any view of you that conflicts with or contradicts that.

You must keep in mind the freedom that you always have to choose your point of view. You are always free to choose the object of your attention or your focus. You can filter your perceptions through any lens that you choose . . . You can adopt any view of yourself that you choose—good or bad. You are free to tell yourself that what you are choosing to see are “the facts” . . . but you can tell yourself that until you are, literally, blue in the face, and the “fact” will remain, that those “facts” are only the perceptions that you are choosing to consistently hold and to practice.

There are no greater lies than the ones you repeatedly tell yourself about yourself. But that is how free you are—free to lie to yourself about yourself . . . . free to actually think yourself into bondage on any topic. And of course—always free to choose a different perspective.

You ‘feel’ at times as though this is all outside your conscious control but that is only because you have practiced your set of thoughts or beliefs to the point where they feel like they have a life of their own. You only ‘feel’ as though these are truths because you’ve spent so much time and attention on them.

And so, what it takes to revise your perspective—is practice. You can just as easily focus on the positive as the negative—it only ‘feels’ hard because it is not the habit that you have formed. With time and effort, you can think new thoughts into belief . . . you can adopt a different view. You can, in fact, come back into alignment with the view of you that Source always holds for you.

The even better news here is the instant—the immediate and delicious—relief that always accompanies your return to alignment
with You. You experience it as such relief, such comfort, such reassurance, such relaxing, such a release of whatever tension or discomfort you’ve been holding on to.

If the idea of talking yourself into a more positive view of yourself seems too hard or too pat or too complicated . . . ask yourself about the benefit of staying with what you think you know. Consider the value of remaining mired in the negativity that you so often feel when you are judging or criticizing or condemning yourself . . . What would it be worth to you, to exert the effort to stop and to consciously direct your thoughts and your attention toward some more positive aspect of yourself. What do you have to lose by deciding that you will only give your attention to what is pleasing to you? Weigh the pros and cons, the costs and benefits of your current approach to one that offers you the prospect of an improved view of yourself and your life.

How much better might you feel, in general, if you were more often more able to see yourself the way that You really see yourself?


I must surely have the chattiest fairy godmothers in all the kingdom. Sometimes I just wish They would wave their magic wand and turn my perceived rags and ashes into the spiffy reflection of myself that I am so often not seeing.

The part I keep forgetting is that I wrote this fairy tale. If my character is found lacking in some way, then I’m the one who has to rewrite it. Being a writer, I recognize that sometimes it takes a few rough drafts before you get something that really reads well.

If my choice here is to keep sitting in a corner not liking what I see—or to make a habit of looking at something that is more appealing—then it has the feel of a no-brainer. How much harder can it be to practice finding things to like in the mirror?

It’s a captivating question that leaves me curious, encouraged, cautiously optimistic, and for the moment, complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on September 20, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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