I’m not a narcissist. I promise and pinky swear. But I have to admit that I don’t mind looking at myself in the mirror. I prefer that to seeing myself in pictures, by a long shot.
When I look in the mirror, I see hair and height, straight teeth, youth. I can’t hope for handsome. In pictures, I see bald and short, not exactly straight teeth (a no room for wisdom teeth casualty) and age.
Something must be wacky with me because the photo is just a mirror, right? It shows what is. It is what it is, to use that dreaded cliché.
For me, though, there’s a difference. An important one. Some people hate looking at themselves in the mirror. They focus on what’s wrong, the imperfections, the flaws. I’m not immune to that (I’m human) but most of the time when I look at myself in the mirror (and don’t have a huge pimple, or something), my mind allows me to see what I want myself to see. Progress, confidence, positivity. In the mirror, I can use my imagination to reinforce what makes me feel good about myself. What’s real isn’t as important as what’s possible. In the mirror, I can convince myself that anything is possible (another cliché, more like what believe I can accomplish, I can). I can control the mirror in a way I can’t control the photo.
I know. What’s the point, and who cares? Here’s how I like to think about it. The mirror is just me, looking at myself, dreaming, challenging, planning, while the photo is the world, looking at me, evaluating, comparing, judging, sizing up.
This hit home for me recently when I was listening to an entertainment executive named Jason From on the Jordan Harbinger podcast. He was talking about the talent evaluation process and related a story about Fred Astaire. “Can’t sing, can’t act, can dance a little” was what the talent experts thought of him. Hmmm….. And I thought, Astaire is a mirror guy, like me. He knew what he was capable of, what he saw in his mirror, even when it wasn’t obvious to others, whose lens on him was like that of a camera’s.
I might not have hair, height or straight teeth – or youth but I’d never know it looking at myself in the mirror. Pictures may prove I can’t fool others, but my mirror proves I can fool myself. As long as I can do that, I feel like I’ve got a ton of things I can still make happen, how I want them to happen. And it doesn’t matter what that looks like to others.
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