When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Are you happy with yourself? Arguable, the greatest personality trait is self-image. How you see yourself, both mentally and physically, directly impacts how you interact with those around you.
Of course, I’m not merely referring to physical appearance. In the greater context of life I believe it is more important to focus on the kind of person you are. Do others seek you out for advice? Are you generally nice to random people? Are you a good parent, spouse, or friend? Are you selfish?
Personally, I have not always liked looking in the mirror, because I was not happy with myself.
After I medically retired from the Army, I was confused and lost. I found it hard to look at myself without wearing my country’s uniform. My first thought was always, “If I can’t be a soldier, what good am I to anyone?” It was without a doubt one of the most difficult struggles in my life. Trying to figure out who I am and what am I supposed to be. As a leader, as a soldier, I had respect. I had people asking my opinion. I had people that I could ask for help. I had amazing friends that would do anything for me. Then after the Army, I was in an unfamiliar place with no friends. Yes, I had family.
But I didn’t have anyone around me that understood what I had been through. And because of it, I felt useless. I hated asking anyone for help. I was embarrassed to ask for help. I did not have a good enough self-image of myself to embrace my new way of life. And because of that, I hurt more people and burned more bridges than I care to count.
I put up walls around me. I wouldn’t let anyone into my heart. I’d look in the mirror and tell myself terrible things. I had a negative outlook on everything and everyone around me. Doctor’s would tell me I couldn’t do things, hell people close to me told me “You can’t…” and I believed it. And I nearly gave up.
But somewhere along the way, after all the hurt I caused, I found some people that believed in me. They told me so. They taught me about the importance of self-image. They taught me that self-image is the first step in living a happier and healthier life. I also found out that my negativity that I had towards everyone, for no reason in particular, was limiting my ability to be happy. And so I was challenged, to go one day, without saying anything negative.
Well I did! And it felt pretty damn good! I started changing every aspect of my life. I started being a better father. I started being a better friend. I started asking for help! I even started saying something positive to myself in the mirror every day. I realized I alone have the power to change my life! And you know what happened? I started gaining a better self-image of myself. And because of it, I am a better father, a better friend, and a better person.
Tim McGraw sings: “I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.”
When I look in the mirror now, I’m happy with what I see. But I know I can become better. I’m more happier now than I can ever remember. But I'm still looking for more!
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Are you happy?