Let’s Start with the Man in the Mirror

mirror-reflection-600x370

There is a You Tube video that has gone viral and I’m sure you know the one.  A three-year old girl, Jessica, in blonde, curly hair, stands on the bathroom sink counter and, while fist-pumping with enthusiasm, shouts at her reflection in the mirror all of the things she loves about her life; all of the reasons that she is GRRREAT!

“I like my hair.  I like my haircuts.  I like my pajamas.  I like my stuff.  I like my room.  I like my whole HOUSE! I can do anything GOOD!  Yeah!  Yeah!  Yeah!”

There’s any number of speculations as to why this video went viral, but the one I would wager a hefty bet upon is that most of us have a hard time really, truly believing how amazing we actually are.  Let alone, having the courage to say it to our own faces.  Because, most of us, even at age 3, lack the ability to count our blessings, one by one, until we are so convinced of our awesomeness that you have to high-step yourself out the bathroom and into the rest of your day to shout, dance, live and love your greatness into the rest of your life.

How often do you stare at your reflection in the mirror, and say, “Wow.  You are fantastic!”?  If you are being honest, I’d gather that a glimpse into the looking glass might look a little more like this: “Crap, another pimple, and is that grey eyebrow hair I see?  Geez, what next?  Whiskers??  My eyes look tired and puffy today, and I shouldn’t have drank that third glass of wine last night.  I really have no willpower.  I’m sure I’ve gained three pounds and who is going to want this pasty skin that doesn’t look 25 any more?  I’m so stupid for paying 30$ for a wrinkle cream because nothing is going to fix that.”

We are, without a doubt, our own worst critics.  Ever pass one day without criticizing yourself?  Try it–NOT EASY.  Some days the self-deprecating thoughts just cling like tar to feathers.  I get so frustrated with myself when I’m confronted with these issues, because I feel like I have the tools to KNOW BETTER.  And yet, I still fall prey to feelings of dubious self-worth and questionable self-confidence.  I still falter in the ability to hold my head up high without asking for confirmation or validation from friends, lovers, family, my career, the status-quo, my financial security, my dog…the list goes one and on.  We are bombarded on a daily basis with so many reasons why we are inadequate, on all of the things we need to fix or change.  I look forward to the day when it is not the reflection from others that I seek, but rather the ability to steady my gaze in the mirror and not look away.

Self-worth is such a diaphanous concept; fleeting and difficult to master.  That ability to convince yourself of your insane awesomeness, even in the face of rejection….ESPECIALLY in the face of rejection.   That anyone who does not share your highly polished opinion of esteem is not worth your time anyways.  Why do we try to convince or prove ourselves to others?  When in reality, if you just rest easy in your greatness, in simple, humble confidence (easy-does-it Ego) and believe that you are inherently worthy…the right people will be drawn to you.  It’s physics really, and actually so simple.

It’s about not sweating the small stuff, and it’s usually all small stuff.  It’s about the fact that 9 times out of 10, it’s not about you.  It’s about even the hard shit providing a foothold to rise up from.

In no way do I have this wild beast tamed, but in the meantime, I am practicing looking in the mirror, holding my own gaze……and liking—no loving–what I see.

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dawn Corso
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 11:16:08

    It’s funny how children are able to do this, but not adults. My five-year-old daughter has the exact same bathroom ritual, except she often adds that she’s “a superstar”! When’s the last time I thought that about myself? We should take notes…

    Reply

  2. Tamisha
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 12:03:49

    Ya know, whenever I see that video, I see you as a little girl. ALWAYS.

    But yes, embracing ourselves as we are is the most difficult of internal battles.

    Reply

  3. eric mathias
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 13:22:55

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for such an honest writing! Though, I think your wording in your post speaks deeply to the root of what’s happening. You mention the following: “having the tools to KNOW better”, “I still fall prey to feelings of dubious self-worth and questionable self-confidence”, “Self-worth is such a diaphanous concept; fleeting and difficult to master”, “That anyone who does not share your highly polished opinion of esteem is not worth your time anyways”…and other things…

    Several questions came up for me while reading.

    What is KNOWing? Is it an intellectual concept or a felt experience that comes from actually implementing the tools you’re speaking about?

    Will we ever stop having feelings of unworthiness or “lack”? Does that even matter?

    Can we master self-worth? What does mastering look like? Is there an end-point where mastering happens and then all of a sudden we’re free from that kind of suffering?

    Aren’t all beings worthy of our time?

    I think your post points to a bigger theme; that the mind is constantly moving, that we’re always going to experience thought, and through attachment/aversion, create emotion. Do the tools we have help to cultivate a spaciousness that lets us see those thoughts and emotions at the moment of formation? And do they support us in letting them arise, express themselves and also pass away?

    Reply

    • Jennifer Reed
      Jan 26, 2013 @ 17:33:10

      Wow, Eric Mathias! Thank you for so much careful attention and consideration! You ask some very interesting questions….

      In regards to KNOWING: (which I don’t) but rather, have the sense that I should, at this point, have some tools to be a little more forgiving, a bit more accepting when certain things make me feel insecure. Grounded in the knowledge that we are all human, and ALL fall prey to these emotions, no matter how confident you seem to be on the outside. It becomes a vicious cycle because then I get angry at myself for not being able to let go of my feelings of inadequacy….and round and round she goes.

      Which leads me mastery, which I also have not accomplished, and thank you for pointing out, do not think I will ever. It alludes to assuming you are perfect and have nothing to doubt, question or struggle with, and if there is anything I can hope for in my life, it is that I will always burn to grow, be better, learn and move forward. In regards to your point, I will simply curtsey and say, “touché”.

      And then we come to the big kahuna: in no way do I think any being is above or below my time. I was referring to a habitual pattern of seeking validation from others. It’s like trying to kill the meanest kid in the class with kindness so that he/she will like you. Instead of just CHOOSING to be around people who DO actually like you, and show you so with their actions, words, and deeds.

      Ultimately, the goal of this post was to remind ourselves that we are amazing, fantastic and beautiful individuals and to perhaps learn a little something from a curly-haired blonde girl who had the courage enough to meet her gaze in the mirror and shout out her greatness to the one who really needs to hear it: herself.

      Mostly, thank you so much for your response and for giving me some serious food for thought! I hope you keep reading!

      Deleted scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsFo3ZORhW0

      Reply

  4. eric mathias
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 13:24:02

    Reply

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