Mirror, Mirror

The fairy tale Snow White opens with an unattractive witch looking in the mirror and asking,  “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  The mirror responds by telling her exactly what she wants to hear, that this unattractive witch is the most beautiful maiden in the land.

No matter how far from the truth that it is, the witch in this story accepts the reflected image as she sees it as her reality and is delighted to maintain her delusion, her status as the fairest of all maidens.  Ah, if only it were that simple!

I look into the mirror several times a day.  I check out my skin for evidence of a new wrinkle or blemish and to make sure my makeup is applied evenly.  I ritually check for a visible panty line.  Although I keep looking, I haven’t found a mirror yet that tells me I’m the fairest of them all.

Assuming the lighting is right and you are not frequenting a funhouse, mirrors will give you the identical reflection of your outward appearance. Gold framed mirrors, inexpensive plastic hand mirrors, and full length mirrors alike will accurately reflect your bulges, unkempt hair, and yes, your panty lines.   But a mirror only obviously reflects your exterior, which tells a mere fraction of who you are.  What we need and what I think is difficult for most women is to get is an accurate reflection of who we really are.

I know some of you are reading this, thinking that you know who you are.  I challenge, saying that you know who you think you are.  This is something I didn’t understand until later in life.  I believe most of us overrate our overall effectiveness, considering ourselves far nicer, more giving, and less self-centered than we truly are.  We are not the best judge of ourselves. We’re biased. The best judges are all around us, those we interact with on a daily basis.  But how do we know what others see? When we ask them, we often times get a skewed version, because they don’t want to hurt our feelings. Or worse, they want to hurt our feelings.

So if we cannot rely necessarily on our own feedback or the feedback from others, and the mirror only reflects our exterior, then what is a dependable measure for us?

I am going to borrow a quote from Aristotle. Yes, thousands of years ago, there were women who were battling these same issues that we face today. He said, “You are what you repeatedly do.” Think about that. The only thing other people ever see, is what you do. So that’s who you are. They are not inside your mind. You could have the best intentions, but if you aren’t a nice person outwardly, you aren’t a nice person. Period. It’s like an abrupt, impatient nurse who recently threatened me that if I did not pea I would not be discharged from the hospital. While I’m sure her heart was in the right place, her actions are definitely not. She was mean and miserable. Nothing else.

Think about what you do. And not in your skewed, warped, and biased mind. Step outside of yourself. And watch what you do for a day. A week. A month. Write it all down if it helps. Then take a look. This is who you are. Is this congruent with who you think you are? Does this match who you want to be? If not, change your actions so that the world can benefit from getting an accurate reflection of you.

There is something to be learned from a mirror. As our appearance can tell us a lot about how we feel; happy, sad, full of energy, tired, sick, or with a great outfit and knockout pair of shoes. But there is a lot more to our story than Jimmy Choos and a cute Calypso dress. Although those things never hurt either. But if you want to work on yourself, you need to look deeper than that. There are ways to increase your successtrogen level, but if you don’t have an accurate depiction of who you are, then how can you make the right changes?

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2 responses to “Mirror, Mirror

  1. So clear and helpful Mary Ann.
    I do think of myself as a kind person, yet I am not kind to people who disagree or irritate me. This kind of behavior I blame on the person I’m interacting with.
    Yet after reading your post today it is obvious my mirror has a defect.
    I will committ to doing one kind act that does not come naturally each
    week. I will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks Mary Ann. Your blog is great!
    Jaci

  2. You have just made my day because my goal with this site is to encourage my readers to think about the blog message and where appropriate, make adjustments in their own behavior, The result: a higher successtrogen level. I will borrow a Japanese terms from the late 70s, “Kaizen”, meaning continuous improvement. The Japanese were concerned with continuously improving their manufacturing process and outputs. You are I are concerned with continuously improving our successtrogen level. It is a process, a never ending one! Thanks, Jaci…I will look forward to your future comments!!!
    Be well today
    Mary Ann

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