Looking to our own reflections

Looking to our own reflections

The other day Terry and her grand baby Micah came to visit at the house and we had coffee and rhubarb muffins. We watched Micah play away on the floor. Eventually he found the big silver bucket that I use to carry ashes out of the house with. He liked the handle and the sound it made and the fact that it rolled around. It was fun to play with. He played away with it. And then he saw his reflection in the bucket. And do you know what he did? He leaned down and gently kissed his reflection. Three times he did this.

I watched him. This little child seeing his reflection and treating it with kindness and love. And I thought imagine if we all hung onto that all our lives. If when we looked into the mirror we turned off our critical eye and looked upon ourselves with gentleness and kindness. It would change our day. It would change us. It would change the world around us.

Once I told you that I discovered something. I learned that if I caught myself looking in the mirror and I smiled at myself I felt better. So I still do that. When I wake up in the morning and my hair is all disarrayed and there is sleep still in my eyes, I give myself a little smile. If I am walking through the house and I see myself for a second in the hall mirror I try to remember to smile. It is the tiniest of meditations. It reminds me that I am here, now, a little child of God. It is a moment to acknowledge myself here in this place at this time.

I noticed Micah did not evaluate his reflection. He just reached out in love. He did not wonder if he was too fat, too thin, or if his hair was a mess. It was just love, pure and simple. I was reminded by watching him of the need for joy in our own selves, the need to love not only one another, but our own little self as well. We need to include ourselves in the one another.

For me that means looking at myself with more tenderness, just as a child looks at their own reflection. Doing this does not have to alter my expectations of myself, or the work I need to do in the world for others. These can remain the same, but in the face of that, I can also be kind, forgiving, and loving towards my own little heart. We are often our own fiercest critics and on some levels this good.

Once a counselling professor of mine said that on some levels guilt is just a sign of a healthy conscience. I liked that and I carry it with me. It is not that we should never look at ourselves critically. Of course we should this is how we grow and change and become better people. It is part of maturing and becoming more fully human. It is more that we at times must also look at ourselves lovingly, without comparison or criticism, like Micah, and from this we can become more fully ourselves.

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  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
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