Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought...
Really? This? Really? This is Me?
Have you ever been struck with the notion that the person looking back at you through the reflection in the glass was a stranger, someone you didn't recognize?
It is probably one of the strangest sensations I have ever experienced, and I use to think that I was just a crazy person for thinking it, but then I started meeting people who admitted to having similar feelings. They too claimed that often times when they looked in the mirror they felt almost shock and surprise to see the person who stared back at them, as if they were legitimately expecting to see a different image and a different person.
As I have thought more about this phenomenon, I have come up with several different theories as to why this might occur. Some I think are just fun, and others I think might have something to them.
One of my theories is that this is not the first life we have lived. Maybe just maybe there is something to this whole Multiple Lives thing, and maybe just maybe THAT is the reason that when we look in the mirror we are legitimately surprised by the person that we see. For example, if I was a big sassy black woman in a previous life, then I imagine it would be quite a shock for my spirit to look in the mirror and see a petite fair skinned Scandinavian girl starring back. Which then leads me to my next inquiry...
What do our spirits look like?
While there are many who agree that our bodies are just the housing for our spirits, there is still much disagreement about what our spirits actually look like. Are we just glowing balls of light? Are we more like androgynous jelly fish type looking things? I personally like the idea portrayed in the movie What Dreams May Come, where they assert that a spirit can basically take on any form it wants. If this is true than our spirits might be more like Mystic from the X-Men series, which again, I think is pretty cool. If that is true, then it would also make sense that, while mirror gazing, your spirit found itself a little put off by the fact that it has been saddled with the same drab covering day after day after day. Sort of like someone who has regret after buying the wrong color car.
"I knew I shoulda went with the powder blue Prius."
Another thought I have had is that maybe this disconnect is due to the fact that we all have this "idea" or "thought" of the person we want to look like, or feel like we should look like, and that maybe this idea or thought is unrealistic to the point that when we are faced with the reality we think...."Well Crap".
I also find it kind of annoying that there are some days that I look in the mirror or at pictures of myself and think, "Ok, yeah, I can work with that", but then there are other days when I look in the mirror and think, "Ohhhhh, THAT's why I'm still single."
Sad, I know, but really, what would you expect from a girl who can pull faces like this...
But then I can turn around and take a picture like this..
That's not too shabby.
I once had a guy I was dating (and who I was pretty much head over heels for) tell me that I had "the kind of face that you just wanted to keep looking at." When I asked him what he meant, I figured he would follow that up by saying that it was because I was so beautiful and then we would kiss, and then he would propose, and so on and so forth.
Yeah....not sa much.
He informed me that what he meant was that I had a unique kind of face that depending on the angle, I would looked like an entirely different person. I can only assume that some of these people were more attractive to him than others, and since things didn't work out, that maybe he got tired of the confusion.
When we look in the mirror, or at a picture of ourselves, I think we truly believe that we are seeing what everyone else sees. If we don't like what we see, then we are prone to thinking that nobody else will either. I think part of the problem is that we get this idea in our minds of what constitutes an attractive or beautiful face and then we mentally compare that to what we see when we look at ourselves. The further from the ideal, the more self conscious we will feel in that area.
If in our minds eye we think we should look one way, and then the tangible world refutes that image, then this might be where that feeling of non-recognition comes into play. In our minds eye we see ourselves with smaller noses and pores, and with bigger boobs and muscles. So of course we are going to be disappointed by what we think we see in the mirror, because after all, nothing on earth can compare to what we can create in our minds.
I believe this is why you will see men and women who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on plastic surgeries, in an attempt to transform themselves into the person they see in their minds eye. I don't know how many of them are actually able to achieve this goal, but I wouldn't imagine it is a very big number.
I am learning many things as I grow older, and one of those things is that the more I think I know, the less I actually do.
There are still days when I wake up and look in the mirror and think, "Yup. THIS is why I am still single." or "Yup. THIS is why he broke up with me." Sometimes I feel like the person I see in the mirror is not an equal representation of the amazing person that I feel like I am inside. There are times when I have felt like if my outsides matched my insides, then I would be totally content with what I saw in the mirror. But then I had to ask myself....
Who says it already doesn't?
The trouble with having an ideal is that it leaves you no room to be anything BUT. If I, or anyone else truly believes that there is a way that we should or shouldn't look, and then we constantly compare that ideal to what we see, then we always be dissatisfied when we look in the mirror, or a picture, or when we assume we know what others are seeing when they look at us.
True, as far as the standards of superficial beauty goes I might not measure up. I may never be able to compete looks wise with the starlets that grace the silver screen, or even the beauties that seem to abound here in Utah, but that is only ONE opinion, that is only ONE standard, that is only ONE reality. True, it might be a pervasive and widely accepted reality, but years of experience have taught me that there is someone out there for everyone, and this includes people who the media and society might classify as "ugly".
If you can relate to any of what I have said I would suggest that we try and remember that what we think we see when we look at ourselves, may be worlds away from what someone else sees when they look at us. Our eyes are easily deceived by our minds, and even those things we observe in the Tangible World, are subject to the interpretation of those observing it.
Love your bodies, take care of your bodies, give thanks for your bodies, and if at all possible, try not to be too hard on yourselves when the person in the mirror seems to differ from the one you see in your mind. They live in two separate realities, neither of which are real.
So what do YOU see?