We work within a particular calculation, most of us: Show me gifts and I will be grateful; show me proof and I will believe. Most of us want some kind of indication of success before we invest faith or a perspective change. But it means that we get caught in a chicken-and-egg kind of situation.
For the logic is this then: show me that I am beautiful and then I will see beauty. But that already means that, when I reflect on the image in front of me, I can’t see beauty. Because no-one else can show you what is beautiful in you, if you don’t already agree with it. You can’t see through another person’s eyes.
If you’re anything like me, you look in the mirror already diminished. I tend to look in the mirror to see what I have to fix to get out the door, not to see what I can appreciate. It’s a gaze about ‘function’ not ‘gratitude’. I come to the glass expecting to take issue, not horrendous issue, but issue nonetheless. And whilst I expect to know how to rectify enough, ‘enough’ means I usually expect to walk away from the glass with some sense of lack or compromise.
I understand now that the truth is, in the mirror, you see your voices. Those voices that you drown out in the day with activity, and dreams through the night, come forth on reflection. The voices point to what’s bugging you on the inside and bring them to your skin, your features and your gaze. Your brain offers you up in a way that is ever-changing and rarely true. And if, in front of the mirror, that is the only time they have airtime, you will NEVER like what you see.
Of a day, I can see myself as the 15 year old girl about to make all manner of life mistakes. Sometimes I spot flaws and faults and the whole day on my shoulders. Or I can see a woman’s body sitting on a childish spirit with a sense of disconnect. Sometimes, because I am working on it, I see a spirit growing and gaining ground. On a good day, I also see with fear. Fear that I may actually be able to see beauty without arrogance and that be okay. I see clarity and sparkle in my eyes and fear that, on that day, I may waste it.
The mirror is not the best way to judge your beauty, it’s the best way to find out how far you’ve come. It’s a way to see the journey but not what you have to offer others. It’s a way to learn self-compassion but never judge self-worth.
For your beauty lies in what you put into the world: the heartful gaze you offer to a friend in hurt and a soul in fun. It’s the touch to energize a tired comrade and a word to ease a terrified mind.Your beauty lies in connections and the truth that sits as the foundation of that energy. So unless you are totally connected with yourself, don’t expect to look in the mirror and see beauty. For beauty, look at the gaze that is returned, feel the touch that is reciprocated, the word that soothes and the love that surrounds.
One day, may you look in the mirror and see the kindness you offer others extended to yourself. Until then, be truthful about what you are looking at.
(as an aside, this is doing the rounds at the minute and is somewhat relevant, so I share