“The girl in the mirror wasn’t who I wanted her to be and her life wasn’t the one I wanted to have.”
— Francesca Lia Block
Mirrors reveal who we are to ourselves in many more ways than we think. Nothing about narcissism, indeed the opposite, when we look into a mirror, who do we see looking back at us? Do we know that person? Does this person like and accept us as we are? Are we able to relate (be sad with, laugh with, stand with) this person looking back at us?
This can be a useful exercise as we work on building our self-acceptance.
Of course, such an exercise can initially produce stress as we venture into the land of the unknown. Standing before a mirror without make-up on, or having just woken up, we may quickly want to redress the situation. But that is the point. Our opportunity is to sit with what is.
Mirror therapy can seem to be an exercise in narcissistic delight, but for those who are far from narcissism, indeed too far, they really could do with a healthy relationship with themselves.
It may seem very basic to some people to accept the person who looks back at them from the mirror. But most people don’t even know that person. Most people have never taken the time to get to know that person; to look into their eyes; to ask into this person’s history; to wonder about the broken dreams of this person that looks back at them. To wonder where the opportunities have gone and to wonder what opportunities lay ahead. These are in many cases golden opportunities, perhaps lost.
Our role in becoming ourselves – which is a lifelong process – is to take responsibility for the stewardship of the self. This is nothing about selfishness. It is everything about getting to first base with God, so God can use us to the extension of the building of his Kingdom.
Coming into acceptance – to land in the territory of self-acceptance – is very much a pre-requisite for the minister of God. This is a domain where narcissists clearly don’t belong, though many are attracted to ministry for obvious reasons. Coming into acceptance is probably the most important thing we will ever learn.
From accepting the self – just as God accepts us as we are – we have a platform for humility. Suddenly we have achieved a sense of inner peace that we cannot otherwise explain. There is an absence of fretting for the many things that are still outside our control, because we have controlled what we can; that is, what we truly think and feel about ourselves.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.