Mirror, Mirror...The Self-Image Conundrum

Image vs. Reality

I have been reading a book by Madeleine L'engle (If you don't know who she is, look her up. Seriously). The book is called A Quiet Circle and it's essentially a compilation of experiences, thoughts and musings. In this book she talks about self-image and her words created what I call a "zing effect" in my whole self. Share them I must.

First she talks about the dangers and repercussions of self-image. The idea that in giving someone an "image" of them self, they can miss out on the "reality" of who they are.

Who benefits most from this search for a self-image so many of us get caught up in? Clearly the advertisers and marketers. Those out to sell a product. As Madeleine says, "We forget that the most successful high-pressure advertising campaigns deal subtly with our weaknesses, our insecure longing for status,...so that we are being manipulated."

"Give the public the "image" of what it thinks it ought to be...and we will buy more of the product, become closer to the image, and further from reality."

Ain't it the truth. We are especially bombarded with the message that we should look a certain way. This is not only in terms of what clothing and make up we should be wearing, but it's also prominent in fitness magazines. They try to tell us that healthy and strong looks very specific.

Let's take this further than our physical self-image.

There are so many conflicting messages about what kind of person we ought to be, what we ought to do with our lives. These messages come from people we know, social media, etc. It's confusing and distracting.

What about our "inner, essential self?"

Another quote from Madeleine.

"I don't know what I'm like. I get glimpses of myself in other people's eyes. I try to be careful whom I use as a mirror; my husband, my children, my mother; the friends of my right hand. If I do something which disappoints them I can easily read it in their response. They mirror their pleasure or approval too.

But we aren't always careful of our mirrors. I'm not...."


For myself. It is often through those closest to me that I get glimpses of my true self. Who I am at that moment and who I have the potential to be. Who I want to be.

Sometimes what I see is ugly. When I am impatient, dismissive, doubting, fearful, angry. That isn't who I want to be. Nor is it who I really am. It causes me to stop and look for what has influenced me to react that way and deal with it.

Sometimes it is truly beautiful and the faces of those I love light up, or relax, or lose their own fear or sadness. And I know that my true self helped that happen. This can be my guide on my path of becoming my true, real, essential self. Discarding the unhealthy, unwanted, and unreal "images" along the way. Becoming Beautifully Me. (Cheesy, I know, but it had to be done.)

What mirrors are you looking at? Which ones are closest to giving you a reflection of who you really are? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

It's important to be able to discern the reality of ourselves from the "image".

My next post will deal with two of our inner mirrors. Which one will you use? Stay tuned.

P.S. I am so happy to be writing again!



Posted on January 21, 2015 .