How to Look at Yourself in the Mirror & Love It
Plus a tribute to Rachel Field
By: J. Marlando
I was standing in front of the mirror the other morning not wanting to admit the reflection is me. I mean, where did my youth go, how’d I get the turkey neck and the lines; the hair loss and so forth. I leave the bathroom shaking my head. Then my wife asks, “Who do you see when you look in the mirror” and I answer, “Me!”
She says, “Thank God, I thought it was me.”
That was my attempt at humor but there’s little to laugh about when it comes down to the reality of not liking the way we look. And, incidentally, men want to look good just as women do. It’s probably more important for woman, however, because no matter how chauvinistic it may be, women are typically judged by their appearance. And, it’s not only men who are doing the judging since other women are perhaps even more critical.
Lots of men—it is said—improve with age, become more sophisticated looking. For example, Sean Connery Woman, as my wife says, just get old looking.
There’s some truth in both statements—it seems nature endowed women with the appeal over the first half of life and gave men the appeal in the second half of life. That’s only a rule of thumb of course because there are a great many exceptions.
There is another view to all this: There are people who simply glow from the inside. My wife and I have a very dear friend by the name of Libby she in her 80s—she is one of the most beautiful persons I know; her loving heart sparkles in her eyes. Her sense of humor (but also her deep empathy) is seen in her welcoming smile and her caring radiates in the touch of her hands. This is not only my opinion but I know of no one that knows her who wouldn’t say the same thing.
Indeed, I am beginning to believe that our inside selves are reflected on our outside selves; not in such physical things like how long or short our noses are, or if our ears flop or not but in something of a spiritual nature, what we might call the “I am” of us.
I think how handsome or beautiful we are has to do with how much we love the world and all that is in it. In fact both theosophical psychics and mystical lore tells us we (each individual) have an aura about us or an astral body that glows around us. I think that this may well be true because we so often will greet some stranger who we immediately trust or don’t trust; a feeling of evil or goodness. This may be more than just a feeling, we may be responding to the actual vibrations of the others astral body which is his or her inner-nature. I don’t know but this sounds reasonable to me.
With the above aside, however, I am convinced that beauty is a condition as opposed to a physical attribute. That is, a person can be physically beautiful or handsome but be unattractive or even ugly within. At the same time, a person can be unattractive on the outside and be quite beautiful on the inside.
Rachel Lyman Field gives us the following poem to remind us of this:
My Inside-self and my
Are different as can be.
My Out-side self wears gingham smocks,
And very round is she,
With freckles sprinkled on her nose,
And smoothly parted hair,
And clumsy feet that cannot dance
In heavy shoes and square.
But, oh, my little Inside-self
In gown of misty rose
She dances lighter than a leaf
On blithe and twinkling toes;
Her hair is blowing gold, and if
You chance her face to see,
You would not think she could belong
To staid and sober me.
We are all like the little girl with our inside and outside selves. As I said in an above paragraph, I am convinced that how much we glow or do not glow is based on how much we love the world and all that is in it. Thus, it is probably safe to say that we “sparkle” in the eyes of others to the degree that we love.
Most of us will remember the old witch’s quest, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all” but this is mere egocentricity. The vital communication with the mirror is not to question at all but rather to affirm. That affirmation is to say to that person looking back at you is, “you are loving and lovable.”
When we walk our daily paths knowing that we are both loving and lovable, we glow with a beauty that is magnetic and all that is drawn into that glow quickly feels a whole lot better about themselves and the world. I can’t tell you how this works; only that it does.
There is catch-22 however to acquiring the glow we’ve just talked about. You can only love the world and others in it to the degree that you love…you!
This is why it is so essential to actually say to yourself in the mirror, “you are both loving and lovable,” as, beyond all else, these are the two treasures that we all desire. Some people after all feel loving but not very lovable for all kinds of reasons. Well, if this by chance describes you, leave such thoughts by the wayside. In this regard, I remember Bernie Siegel that famous writer and surgeon telling me in an interview. He said, if you doubt that you are loving or lovable, go look at your baby picture—that was you and that is still you.
Indeed, if you say to your image in the mirror every single day, “you are loving and lovable” I promise that soon enough you will be looking in the mirror and well, loving it.
Love and loving are the healing factors for every single one of us and I am convinced that being loving and lovable is a condition that connects us directly to Nature. It might even be said that a reason we are so likely to love flowers or trees or meadows or mountains or streams is because they attract us to enter their own loving glow. An observation worth thinking about!
Love is like a boomerang because the more love we send out the more love we receive. I am personally convinced that the spirit of love is in all things and, if you will, that God is that spirit. Indeed, when we love a thing or a person we transcend the physical and in our comprehension of it. If you care to test what I am saying, go outside and actually permit yourself to love a tree and say to the tree I love you…and see what happens. Just remember, to love you…unconditionally.
Note: I recall when my cousin Roberta and I were young children my Aunt Dodo would read to us from the works of Rachel Field Sometimes we would sit for hours just listening to the poetry or her wonderful stories.
Rachel Lyman Field was born on September 19, 1894 and lived until 1942; a life much too short for such a “beautiful” human being.