By our Anonymous Man On The Fence
We often think of the notion of “being vain” as a modern invention. However, go back several thousand years in time, and you can imagine the same issues existed for Cleopatra, as an example. But think about it– under all the layers of make-up, hair spray, body cream, shampoo, sunscreen, lip balm and scrubs, WHO ARE WE? Under all the jackets, shirts, ties, skirts, dresses and underwear, WHO ARE WE?
Think of how often we admire ourselves in the mirror and pretend that all those accouterments make us who we are. Undeniably as we age, we move from one phase to another– that is, most of us do! In the process, we see those around us get wrinklier, fatter, skinnier, dryer and saggier. Basically the way I have thought this thing through is, we are all effectively born to die. But even still, we ought to make our best efforts to evolve early in life. Waiting till you’re thirty or fifty to make that self improvement is too late. So I would like to ask you a question… when you look at yourself in the mirror, are you looking inside yourself, or are you only looking at your exterior, superficial self?
From the moment we are born, we are gifted with a natural beauty. We are small, hairless for the most part and quite darn cute, even if we are ugly! As we age, our parents dress us up and down in every sense of the word. Indeed this is where we first learn to be vain and are trained to admire who we are. But I think, this is the time to have your kids look within themselves and decide how they really want to evolve and whom they really wish to become. Some of the more blessed amongst us have “good looking kids” and for those others, they have the “best looking” kids. But at the end of the day, our ability to be a good person, face our demons, share and show our internal character flaws to those we love, is what really determines who we are in front of that mirror.
I was never particularly fond of a mirror, but I can say with a laugh– what woman doesn’t have several mirrors… mirrors in their room, bathroom, compact mirrors in their purse!? My ex wife loved the mirror. She could literally spend hours in front of a mirror dressing, undressing and then dressing up again! Her issue wasn’t too much the vanity part, but rather the fantasy of what putting all kinds of layers implies to those peering into our lives. I for my part, used a mirror for shaving or to double check that my attire was presentable, but it was certainly not in self admiration. Sometimes I found myself in front of a mirror in disbelief that this was clearly me in my reflection. Did people really see me like this? Is this what they see, but think something else?
When I look into the mirror of life today, of how I have evolved, I now admire my reflection. I think of life’s obstacles and how fortunate I am to have things in life that fill me with joy. I certainly think of the infusion of modesty my kids have brought to my life. It is a humbling experience, to say the least. Now when I look in the mirror, I look to see how I can be a better example of a good person to them. I take stock of my dear friends and think of how each of them has contributed to my wealth. I think that the biggest sense of pride I can derive from looking in the mirror, is to know I have had the determination to take the best of what life has offered, relegate the worst to the bottom and constantly check back to see that I like what’s in the mirror. With the hectic pace of life lately, I have seen fewer people take the time to truly look in the mirror. Or rather, everyone is looking, but not at themselves. Or better, they’re not looking within themselves.
Being vain physically is one thing, being vain to the point that you can no longer accept and see your faults, is another thing entirely. There is no one who is exempt from shortcomings… perfection doesn’t exist. Those who are quick to acknowledge their shortcomings have a jump on those that simply dismiss them or don’t have the capacity to recognize their faults. I marvel at some family members who indulge in their own vanity, only to be totally unaware that no one is interested in their self promotion. It is vital to love one’s self. However it is far more fulfilling to have those close to you, love you and admire the person you are.
So when you finish your day today and look in that mirror, check to see if you like your reflection. If you aren’t immediately content with what you see, make an effort to ensure you do the work involved to love what you see the next time you check back. Check back often. With the right values, dreams and actions, you will start to love the person staring back, and not just from the outside.
Man On The Fence
Ladies, what do you think? Have we become so consumed with our exterior, that we’ve stopped looking from within? Do we live in a superficial society? When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see staring back? Please share your thoughts! Have a wonderful weekend, readers!