This I Believe

Susan - Springfield, Ohio
Entered on October 1, 2006

I look at it everyday. I spend time studying it. And it changes my perspective because it does not lie. I believe in mirrors.

Looking in the mirror can produce many discoveries. Just this morning I made the disheartening discoveries of toothpaste on my chin, a hole in my shirt, and darkened circles under my eyes. Seeing myself as I am and not as the perfect individual I prefer to envision is disappointing, but also enlightening.

A mirror silences suppositions because it only shows the truth. Looking in a mirror, I see not what I wish to be and not what I think should be; I see what I am. Facing the reality of a mirror is difficult, but necessary. If I do not see the hair sticking straight up in the middle of my head, I cannot pat it down. A mirror shows the truth with all its beauty and its flaws, and only when I am willing to face that truth can I ever eradicate the lies.

A mirror neither lies nor provides foundation for falsehood. Hypocrisy and my many masks disappear when I stand before a mirror. Save the mirror and myself, I have no audience for whom to perform. And as the actor, I can differentiate between my assigned verse and my own lines. There is no need to pretend when the one standing before me can see through the act.

A mirror allows for examination of myself but only offers an oblique reflection of others. To see someone else’s reflection I have to look sideways, causing my perception of myself to become faulty, and only resulting in a diagonal view of another. I can never directly behold my neighbor’s reflection. A mirror portrays a direct image of myself and forces me to consider the beam in my own eye rather than focus on the mote in my neighbor’s eye. My reflection shows me.

A mirror does have limitations, however. In fact, many mornings, the first reflection I see of myself looks great My hair is tame, no blemishes mar my face, and my pajamas slim down my figure Then I put in my contacts. I could not see the reality of my appearance because my vision was blurred. A mirror will show the truth, but only if I am willing — and have the ability — to see it.

Looking in the mirror can be a challenge. Once I learn the truth, I am faced with the responsibility of preserving the good and repairing the bad. On too many occasions I only allow myself a glance at the truth. Those are the days I walk out with pepper stuck between my teeth and the back of my shirt untucked. Discovering my flaws can hurt, and may even ensue in a panic attack, but their reality will not dissipate if I choose to ignore them. My responsibility is to face the truth and adjust to it, whether that truth concerns my appearance, my character, my spirituality, or my work.

I believe in truth. I believe in mirrors.