What Do You See in the Mirror?


In my last article I asked a question about the legacy that we are leaving behind and how would people remember us.  This week I am following up on that question with another that deal with how we see ourselves, after all if we do not like ourselves it will be hard for us to like others.

In the Snow White story, the Queen stands before her magic mirror and asks, “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”  The usual response from the mirror is, “My Queen, you are the fairest in the land.” This response makes the Queen very happy until the day Snow White reaches the age of seven and it all changes.  The mirror responds that the Queen is no longer the fairest in the land and that she has been replaced by another.

Although this is a fairytale, for some this is real life.  What do we see looking back at us from that mirror in the morning?  Do we like what we see, and by that I do not mean the externals, but what do we see on the inside?  Are we at peace with ourselves or are we hanging on to something from our past that tarnishes the image of ourselves.  All of these questions can affect our self-worth and as much as I speak about forgiveness of others we need to begin with forgiving ourselves.  Here are a few tips to help us move towards self-forgiveness.

We need to guard ourselves against self-talk.  Each day we carry on an internal conversation, or if you are like me this conversation takes place out loud.  Do you encourage yourself or are you hard on yourself?  Sometimes we are our own worst critic and we never have anything nice to say about ourselves.  In their book The Answer, John Assaraf and Murray Smith write about the negative messages children receive when growing up.  By the time we are seven years old we have heard “no you can’t” on average 150,000 times and “yes you can” about 5,000 times.  That comes out to 30 nos for every yes.  That is powerful.  Change the conversation and focus on what is good in your life.

One of the other techniques that will help us along this road is to stop comparing ourselves to others.  This is a needless distraction that will amount to nothing in the end.  We are all different people and we all experience things in different ways and to compare ourselves to others put an unfair burden on us.  Compare yourself to yourself from a month or a year ago and see where you are now compared to where you were then.

When I speak with people about how they feel about themselves, the conversation often turns to integrity. After all when you strip it all away all we have left is our integrity.  Scripture tells us to “let your yes be yes and your no be no.”  We need to do the right thing even if it is not popular and we need to be true to our values and to ourselves.  Positive character will expand into all areas of our lives and standing up for what we believe will give us great confidence and positive feelings about everything that we do.

Celebrate the small victories that come along in our lives.  Maybe you have decided to lose some weight or start an exercise program.  Maybe you have decided to go back to school or read a book, whatever it is celebrate the loss of one pound, one page, or one class.  Don’t wait for the final victory to celebrate do it each day.  When I started college I was of an advanced age compared to the rest of those in my class.  I was standing at the starting line looking toward the end, four years away, and getting very discouraged.  I decided to modify my direction and pointed myself to a two year degree and once that was completed to another two years and before I knew it the four years were completed.  Small victories get us through.

There is so much more that could be said about this and perhaps I will continue in future articles however transformation begins each day, make a point of looking at those qualities that you like and make a list of them.  Focus on the positive in your life and celebrate the small victories as them come along and don’t worry about what others are doing; you are you and not them.  Stand up for what you believe and don’t let “the crowd” dictate your beliefs.  Do all of these things, daily, and you will be on the right road to a better image of yourself.

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