“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.