I am staring into the mirror taking inventory of all that is right, all that can be changed and all I must accept. Sometimes when life does not go my way, I look outside of myself. I know that many of us do this without noticing. I also know that many of us do this on a daily basis. It is a downward spiral. Most times when I am feeling like the world is on my shoulders I try to look inward. However, that takes work, and as that Whitney Houston song goes, “it’s not right, but it’s OK.” It is perfectly fine to not be strong sometimes. This is something I need to constantly remind myself. But every time I break, I learn something new about myself and the human experience.
When we are not feeling so strong, the easiest thing is to look outwards for a solution. It is easy to find a beauty tip, a new product to purchase or a new workout routine to make us feel as if we are doing something towards our happiness. If we feel that we are doing something towards that happiness, then we are no longer the ones to blame for our unhappiness.
There was a period in my life where if I ever felt down, my local pharmacy could make me feel better. No, I never bought any pills. It was just being there that eased my pain. It was being in a place where you could purchase anything from sweets, pills, magazines or beauty products that made me feel safe. It was the illusion of safety. It is the reason why most of us shop when we are feeling down. Consumer therapy is the outcome of our inability to look inward. We want to feel like there are clear cut solutions to our problems and we want to feel like these solutions are readily available. If a shampoo does not make us happy we have hundreds of brands to choose from and hundreds of hours for us to distract ourselves from what is really bothering us. For some time, Duane Reade was my blanket. Although I mostly just wandered its aisles, the feeling of security was priceless.
Now, when I begin to look in the mirror at times of weakness and begin to compare, I remind myself that I am my own blanket. Regardless of how much better or worse I may look than whoever I choose to compare myself to on that day, there is something special that can never be duplicated or taken away from me. It is the core of who I am. It is my soul. Everyone has one of course, but during the times when I used to wander the aisles of Duane Reade, my soul was not my strong point. Your character should be able to transcend everything else about you. Your character should be able to transcend what you look like, who you know and what you know. Your core is the one thing that cannot be created or destroyed by anyone but yourself.
Knowing how much power we have over ourselves is what scares us into looking outwards when we should be looking in. This means that there are no excuses or quick fixes. This means that there is no way out. I am working on the comparisons, but in today’s world of media where everyone is a commodity, I find this to be the most difficult. Every time I look in, I find something new that I must fix. It is terrifying and exciting, but mostly it is rewarding.
Next time I stare into a mirror in my times of weakness, I will do it with my eyes closed.