Is your reflection…your authentic self?
Do you ever look in the mirror and not recognise the person staring back?
I asked myself these questions over the weekend, and I am pretty sure that a few years ago my answer would have been very different.
Before I went into treatment I was never really sure who I was, and even more confused about the person I ‘should’ present to the outside world. What stared back at me in the mirror, was not the person I wanted to be looking at. I didn’t really know what authenticity meant in its truest form.
I fought so long to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be. Whether I was at work, with family or friends, I would mould myself into a version that I thought would be the most acceptable. The one that caused the least trouble to anyone.
Being something other than your authentic self is exhausting. It’s an unforgiving way to live. It’s a life lived through your ego instead of your soul self. It’s a black and white lens with very little colour.
It requires a huge amount of inner work, to honour your authentic self in a world that plays on our insecurities. It takes effort everyday to strengthen your healthy self…but believe me it’s a whole lot easier than wearing a mask.
Next time you you look in the mirror, really look at the person you see. Don’t just pay lip service to him/her. Look deeper; past the reflection. Look at who you are as a whole person; your soul self. That’s the part of you worth nurturing…it’s the part we often neglect in favour of our aesthetic self.
Don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to connect with your soul self. If you’ve spent years focusing on your physical self, then it can take time to re-route the thinking patterns. It can often bring up painful memories and feelings, but you need to keep at it.
Take small steps. Talk to your reflection as if it were your child-self. Imagine how much easier your life could be if you were at peace being ‘you.’ My relationships are stronger as a result. I may have fewer of them, but they are deep rooted.
I am present in the world and able to rely on myself and not others. It’s hugely empowering to not be dependent on outside sources to prop you up.
It’s not about standing in mirror and loving everything about yourself immediately, it’s about learning what makes you unique. What’s special about you? What do you want others to see in you? Is there a reason why you don’t feel confident, safe or free to be your authentic self?
Take the time to get to know yourself; it’s a journey well worth navigating. At the end of the day when you put your head on the pillow…it’s YOU that has to live with YOU…so make yourself the most comfortable home possible.