Every morning I get dressed and then head over to the full length mirror to make sure I am presentable. I smooth down stray hairs, straighten my collar or make sure my skirt is even. I sometimes find I have to try again with a different outfit because the first one made me look too old, too frumpy, or the usual culprit – too fat. I never thought much about this because I’ve always carried too much weight and I’m quite used to feeling down on myself for it.
Recently my sister and my mother came to visit me. I have been living in this apartment for several years, but this was the first time they had seen it. At one point my sister caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. “Ugh!” she said. I assumed that like most of us, she wasn’t happy with some aspect of herself that she saw in her reflection. However, her next comment surprised me. She said, “How can you stand this mirror?” She beckoned my mother to come over. My mother then stood in front of the mirror and had a similar reaction. “Oh, this mirror is terrible. It makes me look so fat. It’s like a fun-house mirror!”
I was shocked! The first reaction for both of them was not to think that they were flawed, but rather that the mirror was flawed! I realized that when I had gone to a friend’s house I indeed felt thinner looking in her full-length mirror, but rather than think I looked good, I assumed her mirror was a cast-off from a retail store that had purposely been designed to make one look thinner than they really are. I presumed that my mirror showed my true shape and that my friend’s mirror was the one in error. It never occurred to me that it could be my mirror that was reflecting a falsehood.
It got me thinking about how we all perceive things differently and that we are easily persuaded by the images that we project onto ourselves. Is it possible that my mother and sister routinely see themselves as better looking than they truly are? Perhaps I regularly see myself as looking worse than I really do? And in either case, why do we value ourselves differently based upon the reflection of a piece of glass? How do these perceptions affect the way we carry ourselves in our day to day lives? Why do I allow the impression of a few extra pounds to define anything about me? What is it about my sister and mother that caused them to blame the mirror where I blamed myself? How much do I allow my perception of the image I see in the mirror to hinder the true reflection I wish to present to the world – the reflection of Christ?
What are your thoughts?
In His Love,