Self-perception is a funny thing.
The party line: define yourself.
Be true to yourself.
Don’t betray your roots (but if you’re a girl, go ahead and touch them up).
Don’t lose yourself.
We’re pelted with little cheerful and helpful messages by these blowguns spitting little wadded up projectiles from self-help books.
But then we sometimes have these strange opportunities to see ourselves like others see us.
If others see us in a way we don’t wish to see ourselves, does that invalidate our search for self? Or does it just make it that much more pressing?
Do we get to blow spit-and-paper bullets back?
What if the person who stares back at us from the mirror and in photographs and funny stories and family accounts turns out to be a stranger?
Don’t forget yourself: life is made up of separate and unique moments, but they can all be stitched together with Photoshop.
We never really see ourselves as others see us. All we can do is see ourselves as we think others might see us. But, even then, we are still seeing ourselves through our own perceptions only this time of how we think others are viewing us.
Each day, each second, changes us in some way. Even when we think it isn’t. The person looking at me in the mirror is but a reflection of who I think I am in that second just as a picture is a reflection of who I was when the image was captured. One second later I am slightly different and the person in the mirror is a stranger. A familiar stranger but still not me because it is only a reflection.
Being in my thirties has given me an amazing ability to begin liking myself for the first time since childhood. For the first time as an adult I am not apologetic for who I believe I really am. And I also know enough to know that “who I really am” is going to continue changing and growing as I grow as a person. I truly believe I am a work in progress.
Great post, by the way. 🙂