We hear it and see it all the time, telling another person to look into the mirror. Most of the time, the person was saying this is meaning that you need to examine yourself, as in your behavior and attitudes concerning how you were just talking about or judging someone else. Sometimes, it’s just someone telling you to actually look in the mirror to see how you look in your clothes. Then there is the way I was told to look in the mirror. I was told to look into the mirror, look beyond the physical appearance, and explain what I was seeing, which I thought would still be the same person I have looked at for 44 years. I am 45, and last year when I was asked to look into that mirror closely, I saw something different.
For 44 years, I looked into the mirror and saw the same person, and I saw that person grow up and change physically. I had hair growing in places I never knew, I also saw where hair wouldn’t grow. I saw long hair and short hair. I saw an overweight face, a rundown face, and even a slim face. The mirror showed me a lot about my physical appearance, sometimes distorted by the fog on it from taking a shower or the neglect I gave it by not cleaning it regularly. Even on that day that I was told to look into that mirror deeper, I managed to see that same distorted view.
I was told that to see the deep mirror image of me; I would have to wipe that mirror clean and forget everything I noticed about myself before this moment. It became apparent to me that what I was seeing before was a distorted view of myself for many years, So out came the cleaning materials, and I cleaned that mirror to the point it was brand new. I then took some time to clear my head and mind and then headed back to that mirror to take a good clean look. The image in front of me was not what I was expecting. I was overweight, tired, and had neglected my appearance, which made me feel terrible about myself and rightly so. Years of drinking, staying up till 1-2 am and the stress of a careless, unorganized business and personal life had taken its toll on me. While staring at that mirror the emotions of rage, anger, sadness, and helplessness overcame me with such power that the tears began to flow down my face. The emotions led to thoughts of all the things that were making me feel this way, the issues I have caused my wife and family, and my friends and peers. The problems I created in my professional life to finally asking myself the ultimate question.. How did I get to this point? I won’t lie, that mirror also had me thinking thoughts of just giving up altogether. Selfish. I know. I looked at an overweight, stressed out and a sad person who wanted to save a profession and have everyone like him. I was a tired, excessive drinker, who struggled with daily activities and maintaining a business. I was an angry person who didn’t understand why bad things kept happening to him. I was struggling financially and couldn’t understand where the money was going.
I walked away from that mirror in such a wrong place. However, for me, this was an exercise that was given to me by my therapist in rehab. While all those emotions were so strong and giving up was the easy thing to do, I had support back at the facility and home with my wife. I never told my wife about this moment as I didn’t want to already burden her with more. So I set off the next day to my therapist and reported my findings. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this mirror also gave me something I never knew existed before… truthfulness with myself and the ability to turn all those things I saw and felt into something better and more powerful. However, I needed to go through the process of really seeing me and digging deep into those emotions and thoughts to move forward. Those findings and being truthful with myself only have allowed me to make the changes needed to where I am today.
Today I look in that same mirror every day, and one day each week typically a Monday, I look deep into that mirror, yes, a clean one. The difference now is I am looking at someone who is 30 pounds lighter, takes care of his appearance, and no longer feels the rage, anger, and sadness he used to feel. There are no longer thoughts of just giving up. I don’t care who likes me and who doesn’t, and I no longer am trying to save a profession; rather, I am trying to add positivity and help to all those involved within it. Those tears are now smiles and laughs. Sure my life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but it sure isn’t anywhere close to what it once was.
The Mirror. We all look into it every day. We see our reflection and think nothing more of it. Every once in a while, I think we all need to take a more in-depth look into that mirror and reflect on what we see.