What do you see in the mirror?

When I look in the mirror I see a crippled body, slouched over and with a fat belly. My blue jeans are normally showing my thin legs.

My body is paralysed. The muscles below my waist and the lower half of my arms are wasted away, far scrawnier than they should be. My would-be six-pack is paralysed, so I can’t even suck my stomach in to make myself feel better. Instead I have a belly that prefers to hang out with gravity than with me – I’d describe it as a beer belly, but I don’t even drink! I convince myself that every flaw stands out like a massive beacon for everyone to see, including the few red marks beside my nose that, when I asked the doctor if it was possible to remove them, he replied “what marks?” surprised I would even consider paying to do anything about them. That’s what I see when I look in the mirror.

But what if the mirror could show us our qualities, the type of character we are, the strengths we used to have as a child which have long since been buried by life, the things we’ve achieved?

What if every scar appeared with a post-it note reminding you of what you gained during that difficult time. What if every flaw or quirk that makes you unique among the billions of people on earth had a little gift tag stuck to it saying ‘just for you’?

Even better, what if these notes could be seen by everybody, not just in the mirror? If you could see the story and not just the result when you looked at other people as you went about your job, did your shopping, or told someone your feelings – and they could see you just the same?

Would you see others in a new light? I bet you would.

I feel lucky that my life has taught me to overcome adversity. So when I look beyond the fat belly and crippled body and realise I have become someone who is strong and who sees life from a different perspective, and by far my best asset. I have grown to the stage where I understand where people are coming from, as opposed to just seeing their point. Many people don’t even understand the difference!

But I don’t see these good things in the mirror, I don’t get a visual reminder of everything I’ve overcome and achieved. I wish I did, as they would outshine my flaws so completely that, maybe I might even like what I see.

Time to start seeing who we really are.

Next time you look in the mirror take a look inside and find three words that the world should see when they look at you. Brave, determined, smart, caring, open… Be positive and honest with yourself.

Hopefully one day you might truly like what you see and believe it when a friend, partner or family member says ‘you look perfect!’

9 Responses

  1. Hi God is my and ur Father,He and Jesus Christ became my Everything in life,I have come more humble than certain people can imagine(did work in 1993 in quadeplegic and pareplegic ward for 8months God bless u!!

  2. Steven: I am really impressed, you are a brave and honest man. Hope we could see our inner in the mirror which may need more make up than the outside, also hope we can see the inner side of others when we look at them, as we mostly deceived when we judge them by what we see from outside. You are so deep, I understand that difficulties we face in life can make us wiser if we had the courage to face first. I guess your faith helped you, keep this beautiful peace in you, God can award us by unexpected miracles.

    1. Hello Alya, thank you for the comment. Such an amazing point, seeing the inner strength in other people is so vitally important. Facing our inner shadows is so difficult to do, many reasons but primarily because they are uncomfortable. Like you say, the rewards are great and these unexpected miracles are there when we look for them.


  3. Steven, I think you’ve probably touched on the most essential quality of personal leadership that any of us could ever attain and, hopefully, all of us will work towards — the ability to truly look for and see the best in ourselves and others. This post is so moving, and so raw and real. And, as you always do, you’ve left us with a beautiful practice, to live and lead by: “Next time you look in the mirror take a look inside and find three words that the world should see when they look at you.” Imagine if we did this every day, as we look in our own mirror and as we give feedback to and appreciate others. I’ve printed this off into a poster, to remind myself to do this every day!! Thank you.

    1. Hi Janice, thank you so much for your comment. Very often people say I’m a leader, it has taken me a long time to see it, and your comment has really helped this morning. Perhaps I should make this part of my course.


  4. Hi Stephen,

    This is a fantastic thing to do with your life. You can be of value to thousands of people. Have you written a self help book? If not it’s a good idea. So many suffer from low self esteem, it would be a help to especially young people too.

    Good luck

    1. Hi Marilyn,

      I am in the middle of writing a book that mixes my life and self-help. So it is based on real life events and how I deal with them so the reader can apply the same techniques to help themselves.

      Thank you, Steven

    1. Hi Peggy,

      Yes indeed. I still do this every day now, just spend a few seconds looking in the mirror looking for the things I love about myself. Some days I have to look a little deeper.

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