One of the things most of us will do in the morning is to look in the mirror even though that might not be the best we will look for the day. Despite whether our hair is askew, or our face ridged with lines from the pillow, it is who we are as we are. Without the benefit of grooming our hair, getting a shower, or any other of the things in our routine, we are more authentically who we are in those first moments before we have had our coffee.
During the pandemic and lockdowns many of us didn’t take as much time for makeup or special hair styling. We were at home and wearing a mask a great deal of the time. It’s been said that pajamas and sweatpants were purchased more often during the height of the pandemic when many were working from home. But how much time do we really examine who we see in the mirror? Are we authentic in our person?
One of the evidences of character is authenticity. Most of us recognize that quality early in a relationship because the person is genuine and consistent. Those things are not something the person needs to work on because they aren’t trying to hide who they are and that is not something we find in everyone. Far too many are trying to appear in a certain way, or present themselves in a specific way so we meet a spurious (false, fake) self.
If we were fortunate to grow up in a family where we were nourished and accepted, it is more likely we will discover the truth of who we are including our strengths and weaknesses. In that process, we will know we are still loved, and we will tend to flourish and learn to strengthen areas of weakness and grow our strengths along the way. We will be able to see ourselves more accurately and be less impacted by what others think about us.
If our families were not quite that way, we may grow up trying to be what others would like and to please them to feel more accepted. It will be harder to identify our real strengths and even more difficult to be sure of what our weaknesses are because we fear to see them or have anyone else discover them, we will not be accepted.
Whatever you begin to believe about yourself gets reinforced by the conversations you have with that person in the mirror. You don’t recognize that that mirror might not be reflecting the truth and you might spend a lot of time repeating the lies you think might be better than the truth of who you might be.
How you begin to experience life, your relationships, and experiences has a great deal to do with how you view yourself.
“Your capacity to experience anything in life depends on how well you know your self and how much you are flourishing.”Matthew Kelly in Life is Messy
Getting to know ourselves takes time and can feel scary to some because it can be easy to fear the worst, but getting to truly know ourselves as we are is also the most freeing thing we can be and do. It will release us from all the energy we use up trying to remember who this or that person expects us to be and that makes us more available to just be with them.
The safest and most reliable way to take that journey of discovering our true selves happens when we choose our Creator as the guide in this process. After all, He made us and knows everything about us and what is especially important is that He knows what we do not see and loves us still.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
And He will always tell us the truth because He is TRUTH, but that will not be with condemnation as we might expect. It will be with love and grace and a path to change what is not who He designed us to be and his gentle guidance to help us. As we get to know his voice and spend time listening to Him and the truth He tells us, it won’t create navel gazing and selfishness but rather authenticity and a genuine capacity to love others more as He has loved you.
Learning to listen to his voice is the very best choice we can make because He is always eager to spend time with us so we can get to know Him better and discover the truth about ourselves.
“How you speak to yourself is far more important than how anyone else speaks to you. One of the reasons is because we always believe the things we say to ourselves, even when they are wrong. Even when they are not true.”Matthew Kelly in Life is Messy
Learn to listen to that voice that is quieter and gentler than you thought. He, Jesus, will tell you the truth even if it is not always easy to hear. Tune out the voice, the father of lies, that whispers only wonderful things to you or shouts at you with condemnation. Make room in your day to hear that voice who is Truth.
“There is no substitute for a vibrant spiritual life. A rich inner life is essential to human flourishing. If we want to live life to the fullest, we need to give priority to the spiritual aspect of who we are.”Matthew Kelly in Life is Messy
Making that choice has never been more important than it is now when the world is shouting a cacophony of lies that we are tempted to believe that will either lead us to despair or denial and both will move us farther away from light, life, and truth.