The other day while participating in a medical study – I noticed a reaction towards one of the staff. She was a young girl and you could see that she put a lot of effort in her physical presentation; what she wore, how her hair looked, and how her make-up was done. Soon enough we (me and the other study participants) found out she was the daughter of one of the nurses who had been also working with us. What I observed within myself while observing this girl is how much she placed emphasis on the way that she looked, and within this, judgment towards her for that.
A particular behavior I could see clearly that indicated this was how she would constantly check her reflection in the mirror of the windows. It’s was quite obvious she was doing this, or at least from my perspective. The judgment was she is conceited and lost in her own image and reflection.
Though – I get it. It’s the same behavior I've seen within myself. And that is what caused this reaction of judgment within me towards her – she clearly was displaying a part of myself that I continue to live out; placing emphasis on the way one looks as a point of self-definition and self-validation.
I also didn't like the attention I could see she was getting from everyone else in the study. These are the same people that I have also been observing as how they relate/interact to me, and within me thinking I was ‘the most attractive’ girl in the place. Then it's like all of a sudden there is this new face, this new person who challenges 'my position' (that I created in my mind) of who I was in relation to everyone else and within that, did not like her 'taking my place'.
So there was jealousy and competition that emerged – not liking that she was getting the attention I had already claimed to have as my own. I then felt insecure and diminished within myself. I compared myself to her and felt as if I fell short of what she was presenting and so in that ‘couldn’t compete.’
The next day her mother was back working with us and what was interesting was this point that I had not yet seen in her, which is the same behavior I saw in her daughter, as well as myself… checking her own image in the reflection of the mirror. It’s like this quick glance, a quick check to see how we look, to ensure we ‘look good’, and from that continue on with the activities one is busy with, with this refreshed reassurance that our image is how we like/want.
For me I can see it’s this constant point of validation – where when I act out such behaviors, I am checking to make sure I look ‘pretty’ and ‘attractive’, and if I do, there is this positive energy that activates and I can see how this then triggers a particular character that has confidence and is secure… but basically I am running off the reflection in the mirror as the source from which I get these things. Clearly then not living them as myself, or seeing that such words as an expression can exist beyond just an image of myself.
So a lot of work to do still in terms of removing the self-definitions I've placed within how I look, and how I use that to feel secure and confident. The mirror is not my confidant and has only facilitated an act of separation where in such a moment I am not here, I am not in my body or in physical reality – I am lost in the image of myself I see in a mirror and I am consumed with the self-interest of how this look can and does serve me, specifically through competition with others, getting self-value and worth through what attention this look may give.
We have truly created a narcissistic society where most are lost in their own image and likeness reflected in some glass. We become mesmerized and in that, place value on what we see rather than who we are. It is not sustaining – when I am not satisfied with how I look, I am not satisfied with who I am and I create an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience within myself. The point then is to remove the importance, value and self-definition of oneself to exist only in the reflection, and instead on who one is, and how they live. How they live meaning – who we are in every moment of breath, who we are in our mind, who we are in relation to other people, what we keep in the secrecy of ourselves, whether I am living self-honestly and self-responsibility, who we are day in and day out as the action and inaction we allow.
Am I a being of integrity and truth… or am I just occupied with an image of myself that makes me feel good? We truly are missing out on so much when we are only seeing ourselves. And in the reflection of ourselves... we are not actually seeing ourselves, we are seeing our mind as how we see ourselves, how we define ourselves, and what value we place on what body part or shape of our face. To see yourself/myself for real.. it is to face the totality of ourselves in every moment, every thought, every feeling, every insecurity, every worry, every doubt, every desire, every thing that moves within ourselves/our minds is who we really are. If we can dare to see that, we will hen see the real reflection and see much is needed to be changed.
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