A Simple Path – To a Truer Reflection | The BridgeMaker

A Simple Path – To a Truer Reflection

By on Nov 06, 2011

“Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres

Now and then what’s meant to keep us safe can frighten us instead.

The rear view mirror frightened me recently.

A slow-moving car caused me to look into the rear view mirror to see if I could move safely around it. I didn’t see anything behind me, but I did see the face of a tired man.

The setting sun illuminated the dark circles under his eyes. His complexion was ashen, and his expression was lackluster. His nose hairs, warts and blemishes were larger than they have ever looked before.

It took me a moment to recognize my own reflection.

The weeks since my brother’s death have been difficult. Sadness still lives in the spot that loves my brother. Life is moving on – and I’m trying to move on with it the best I can. When I returned from his funeral, I headed straight back to work. I jumped back into the busyness of each day, but with a broken heart.

I took another glace in the rear view mirror to make certain it was me. With this glance, I recognized that I was being too hard on myself, again.

Rather than seeing myself as being strong enough to help my father and sister through Eric’s death; or being strong enough to begin healing, I saw myself as being less than what I thought I should be; all I saw was tired eyes. Old tapes are hard to erase.

Sometimes the simple path to a truer reflection begins with seeing ourselves without the usual lens of self criticism, but with a new lens – a lens that shows our beautiful spirit that lives under the dark circles, warts, and blemishes.

I’m beginning to create new tapes now. Ones that remind me that it’s better to have tired eyes with dark circles than a perfect complexion because at least it shows I’m feeling, grieving, and simply being human.

The new tapes will tell me that the next time I catch a quick glimpse of my reflection in the rear view mirror I need to celebrate the life looking back at me – nose hairs and all.

What is A Simple Path?

This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Dana, thank you for the book recommendation. I wish you the best as you continue on your healing journey.

  • It is almost the one year anniversary of the death of the man whom I’d dated for almost 10 years as well as the one year anniversary of the death of a 22 yr old who called me Madre, even though I wasn’t his mother. One of the best things I’ve managed to gift myself with is the book called “The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses Including Health, Career, and Faith”. Perhaps it would help you as well.

  • Michelle, undoing the hard wiring can seem like a daunting task, but with the right amount of faith and encouragement (like what you and others are providing me), then the task seems a little easier. Thank you.

    My prayers to you Devine as you continue to heal, too.

  • Hey Alex I can feel what you mean brother!
    I think its pretty tough for an emotional person to loose some near and dear one and to cope with it.
    I know it because my family has been through same tragedy in near past.
    I can only say that its always good to move ahead with life!

  • Michelle

    A beautifully insightful piece. I also struggle with re-writing those tapes into more positive messages. Acceptance is hard when we have wired ourselves for perfection.

    I have also known the loss of loved ones. Please know that by sharing your experiences you are allowing us to care for you.