Recently I came face to face with a harsh truth. A lot of times I am not honest about my limitations. I realized, as I thought more about this, that one of the hardest things to do is be completely honest with ourselves. In that moment I could see that it has always been easy to blame others or some thing beyond our control for our situation. What is hard, to the point of being impossible for many, is that often they and not others are the reason why they are where they are;a place they do not want to be and should not have been.
This situation reminds me of the mirror versus the camera dichotomy. Often times when we look in the mirror we feel so much confidence about how we look and feel; this is until we take a picture…
Take a minute and think about this. When are you more satisfied with your image? when you take a picture or when you look in a mirror?
The thought is that the mirror tends to make us look better than we really are, while the camera gives a more accurate image of ourselves. I know I do not like taking pictures because you have to work really hard, even being contortionists just to get that perfect image!
With the camera its harder to hide your true self. Little imperfections become glaring scars and it highlights how the world sees us and not how we want to be seen.
So what does that mean for us? It means that we cannot always play the victim in our own little melodrama. We cannot always claim the world is against us. We have to be honest that we may not always have an accurate perspective on our situation or others. We can also be problematic, because we refuse to step away from the mirror and look through the lenses of the camera.
Our situation – because we all are guilty – reminds me of a poem by Sylvia Plath, entitled, Mirror, which unlike the ones we all use, gives back what it gets and is honest about what it sees. When you look at yourself be honest about what is really there and be honest with those around you about how complex you can be…
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.