Face-to-Face

So here’s a kind of cool thing: I was in a restaurant, heading for the restroom, and I saw this friendly-looking gray-haired lady – plump, but healthy-looking and pretty in an open, cheerful way – and I thought, “I like her!” and I could tell she was just about to smile at me, so I smiled – and she smiled at the exact same time – and I realized I was looking in a mirror!

This was really eye-opening to me. In my own head I have this image of how I think I appear to others that… well, it doesn’t match with the confident, happy woman I saw looking back at me in the mirror. It was cool to get a chance to see how I would see myself if I was looking at me from someone else’s perspective.

And this experience was cool, too, because I can remember another time – back when I was a university student – when I saw a slender young woman looking at me from a window – and she was pretty in the traditional way, but she looked harried and preoccupied and a little cranky, and she didn’t look like someone who was going to smile back at me – and I realized I was looking at myself.

I’d rather be the gray-haired woman I saw in the mirror today than the pretty young woman I saw in the window forty years ago.

A Most Ridiculous Mirror

…Love is reflected in love. – Mary Baker Eddy

What the heck is going on out there?! Several of my students are dealing with it right now. A couple of my colleagues, too. Friends on Facebook are bringing it up in their posts. And I’ve also been afflicted by it recently. Actually… now that I think about it… it’s possible that I’ve not only been afflicted by it, but that I have been, unintentionally, the afflictOR on occasion.

We are looking at others as if we’re looking in a mirror. We assume everyone else sees the world in the same way we do and then criticize other people for our OWN faults, foibles, and nonsense. We think because WE are envious or angry or hateful or deceptive or manipulative or bullying or bigoted or frightened, everyone else must be, too. And then we tell other people that they feel this, or they think that, or they believe whatever – when really it is US who is feeling, thinking, and believing the whatever. Sheesh. It’s ridiculous.

Last week one of my students began tearing up as we were saying good bye. The tears welled out of her eyes and became streams. I asked her what was going on, and she told me that her mom had told her she was a loser – had told her that she destroys everything.- that she’s no good. And I was looking at this beautiful, talented, brilliant young person and my heart broke for her. She was believing all these lies about herself!

“Just because someone calls you a chair – does that make you a chair?” I asked her. She shook her head no. “Just  because someone calls you a table – does that make you a table?”  She said no. “And just because someone calls you a loser – does that make you a loser?” She wiped the tears from her face, and shook her head no. ““Listen to me. If somebody thinks you’re a chair, or a table, or a loser, or whatever – that is HER problem. She’s not seeing things right. You are amazing and smart and talented and beautiful.You are valuable. Say it: ‘I am valuable.’” My student started smiling then, and repeated my words to her. “Say it with conviction!” I ordered. And she did – she was laughing now.

Let’s know this about ourselves and each other: We are not tables or chairs. We are not haters or bigots or bullies or losers.We ARE valuable. We are worthy. We are the sons and daughters of Love, Truth, and Life.

Thou to whose power our hope we give,
Free us from human strife.
Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
Speaks kindly when we meet and part.
– Mary Baker Eddy

mirror

“Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.”
– Mary Baker Eddy