It’s winter and I don’t like the way I look. My fair Irish skin is pasty white and dry, my hair is without sun-kissed tones, and I look like I’m storing winter fat for hibernation. I do not like the glimpses of myself I catch in reflective surfaces. However, this morning I looked up from washing my face and smiled, very pleased with what I saw.
Staring back at me in the mirror was the true me. Reflected in my eyes were all the kindness, hope, and love that I have shared and received. Also present were forgiveness, patience, wisdom, acceptance, appreciation, curiosity, and joy.
I reached up to touch the lines around my eyes. I know repetitive actions like smiling or squinting causes these lines. While so many abhor such lines, I welcome each and every one because I know the repetitive action I’ve engaged in is smiling. My lines represent the many hours of smiles that have crossed my face–random smiles, innocent giggles, unbridled joy at seeing loved ones, and tear-jerking laughs. I take notice of the absence of a pinched, worry line between my eyebrows–that I would abhor! I’m happy to say I also don’t have those wrinkles caused from pursed lips; my wrinkles are at the outer corners of my mouth, again from hours of laughs and smiles.
I return to my eyes and slowly nod my head. Yes. Yes. Yes, I like what I see. I like the woman I am today–the woman I have transformed into. I am a good person. I am an honest person. I am an open-minded person. I am forgiving, creative, spontaneous, appreciative, kind-hearted, loving, joyful being! I move through the world doing my best to avoid judgement, to limit my negative thoughts, words and actions, to inspire others, and to know and live my own values.
My purpose in telling you this is not to toot my own horn, but to invite you to take a good look at yourself. Not the gorgeous fit body or perfect teeth you think you are, not the few extra pounds or gray hairs you feel define you, look beyond those. Look beyond what you do (too many of us identify our being through our jobs) to who you are at your deepest, most intimate level. Look deeply into your own eyes and tell me, do you love who you see? I genuinely hope you do!
Take time to recognize all the perfection that is you! Name the positive attributes you recognize, (some of them may be a little shy and need coaxing out, some may not have been out in a while and need to be dusted off before you can readily identify them). They are there, we all have them! We were born perfect, loving, trusting individuals. It is through our life experiences we move away from that perfection. If we look in the right direction, we find our way back.
Once you have embraced all your greatness, I challenge you to BE those attributes. The world doesn’t really care if you’re a professional athlete, a CEO, a former drug addict, a billionaire, a few pounds overweight, balding, have big teeth or creaky knees. The truth is that each and every single person wants to believe there is a GOOD person behind all the outward trappings! This inner substance, not the outwardly visible, is what creates a meaningful and substantial life filled with true and lasting connections.
By all means, pursue a full, successful, beautiful life, but let the essence of who you are serve as the foundation for all the outer trappings of life. One day–when the outer beauty fades, the career winds down, your body fails you–all that will be left is who you are at your core. Make it count. Be able, no matter what your age or circumstances, to look into your own eyes and declare, “Yes, I like who I am!”
Now that we’ve established I like my inner self, I’m going to go color my hair.