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!’