Nico, an eight-year-old Male Dalmatian has an interesting habit. He loves looking at the mirror. He would peek into the full-length mirror in his guardian’s bedroom and then run downstairs to the hallway only to steal another glance into another full-length mirror there. Sometimes, he would only look, stay a few seconds, and running away only to return to repeat the process. At other times, he would stare for a few minutes in silence, occasionally cocking his head and adjusting his posture, as if saying, “Who is that dog in there? Why is he looking at me and keeping his distance? Why is he not playing with me? Why does he get so animated at times and have no response at other times? Why does he look interested but does not engage? Why does he bark at me but I hear nothing?”
Does Nico realize it is his reflection? Does he know the dog in the mirror is his physical image of himself? Is he aware that the capacity of emotion and movement of the dog in the mirror is confined to his own capacity of emotion and movement? Is he self-aware? Are you self-aware?
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you like what you see? When you look in the mirror, what you see is your physical image. Every hair, expression, and nuances in your body are you. That is the physical instrument you have to reflect on your environment and the outside world. To a certain extent, it is a paradox. You can’t really change the way you look (not instantaneously anyway!) or how others perceive you physically but it is under your control to how you want to be perceived. There are two important people in your life that will look, have an opinion, and judge you whether you like it or not. They are yourself and others.
Interestingly, by convincing one of them, you usually convince the other to come to the same conclusion. When you look in the mirror, are you able to accept, appreciate and love what you see in its entirety and push past the physical image, delve deeper inside and accept, appreciate and love what you cannot see in the mirror? Do you ask the same questions that Nico asks? When you look into the polished reflective glass, do you ask, “Who is that person in there? Why is (s)he looking at me and keeping her/his distance? Why is she/he not playing with me? Why does she/he get so animated at times and have no response at other times? Why does she/he look interested but does not engage? Why does she/he shout at me but I hear nothing?”
How do you feel when you look into the mirror? Do you only use the mirror to put your make up on or to shave? When you are not doing physical acts that require the mirror, have you look into the mirror recently and just focus on who you see inside? How do you feel then? Are you complimentary of yourself thinking, “Damn, I see myself as Nature intended and I feel good!” or critically thinking, “I do not like what I see and I feel horrible.” How do you feel? What is the dialogue you have with yourself? It is not what you shout to the world that matters but the constant whispers you say to yourself that has the most profound effect.
You are born perfect, exactly as Nature intended. Over time, you may have developed or acquired challenges like losing a limb, having a health condition or experienced great loss/developed immense pain. Still, that is exactly as Nature intended. Everyone has different histories to tell but also possesses the same story to live. Everything is exactly how it should be. Any perceived shortcomings like “too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, not good looking enough, nose too big, nose too small, skin too rough, skin too delicate, too hairy, not enough hair” (you get the gist) is nothing compared to a fracture of your mind, the weakening of your emotions or the amputation of your soul. Learn how to preserve your mind, fortify your emotions, and escalate your soul for that is truly more important than what you see in the mirror.
There is an exercise that you can do.
Find a quiet spot and look into a mirror (a small face mirror would suffice but when you are braver and for a greater effect, use a full-length mirror). When you do so, really focus on each of your body parts that you can see. Get granular on this. Examine every square inch of your face and your body in detail. As you do so, think to yourself, “That’s not too bad, that’s enough, that’s good, that’s ok.” If you are braver (or more advanced), start thinking, “That’s beautiful, I have got great parts! I have bits of me that are unique and no one else has them!”
After you have done that (the next step is more fun and challenging), learn how to look beyond the looking glass. Still looking into the mirror, now look into your self-image, your mind, heart, and soul. For your mind, get in tune with your thinking. What are your thoughts? Acknowledge, understand, and accept them. For your heart, calibrate your feelings. How are you feeling? Accept, embrace, and love them. For your soul, purify your essence. Remember your life force, your magic, and your gifts.
You have to learn how to love what you see in the mirror and beyond. You may start with only a few minutes in the beginning. That is usually how most people can tolerate themselves! Over time, you may extend it longer, even up to half-hour or more! This is not being narcissistic. This is being one with yourself. The reality is that if done properly, it will instill even greater humility in you and your appreciation of the world.
You will learn the joy of being friends with yourself, loving yourself like a life partner and in return, the world will do the same to you. You will become your greatest friend and lover and subsequently, become a great friend and lover. You are unique. You are magical. You are enough.
You will become like Nico, the bouncy Dalmatian!
‘Stand in your own space and know that you are there’ – Anon