Watching my daughter grow up provides an endless source of lessons. One of the most startling is how her self-perception differs from how I see her. Sometimes it seems we are talking about two different people. On the one hand, I want her to have a healthy self-image and not be swayed by the perceptions of others. Yet at the same time, we all benefit from understanding how others perceive us. This led me to a question: When you want to see the true you into whose mirror do you look?

The Secret to Seeing the True You

If you have been to a house of mirrors then you know what I mean. One makes you look taller and thinner, another shorter and fatter, and yet another essentially diamond shaped. With physical image, you can go home and look in a regular mirror and see your actual appearance. But when it comes to such things as emotional soundness, intellect, character traits, and core values gaining a clear perspective is more problematic.

On one end is the person who only looks in his own mirror and refuses to see his reflection in how others perceive him. Consumed by a mental and spiritual narcissism, at its extreme is the sociopath who is so dismissive of others he sees them as his prey.

On the other end is the person who only sees himself through the eyes of others, legitimizing everyone’s views, whether good or bad. Adrift on a turbulent sea, too often such a state leads to tragedy. Judy Garland comes to mind – consummately talented but unable to see herself in any light other than that reflected by her family, friends, business associates, and public. If they adored her she esteemed herself. But criticism filled her with self-loathing.

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Best is to have multiple mirrors so that you can guide and repair your self-perception. When you have had a particularly difficult day, it can be hard to maintain a positive perspective. Connecting with people in your life who reflect a positive image of the true you will help you mend. Likewise, when you need an ego check friends who do not overlook your faults can help you.

Here you can see how the building blocks of the Mental Pillar of Fitness work together. Social engagement buoys emotional soundness. Healthy, balanced self-perception is such a crucial component of living intentionally this holiday season shine up some of your mirrors.

Please take just a minute to share one thing you do to maintain a truthful self-image…

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