The stranger in the mirror

Have you every had a day when you look at yourself in the mirror and the reflection seems to be the face of a stranger? The physical appearance is the same, but there’s an elusive quality –maybe it’s something about your eyes or your smile — that is initially unrecognizable. Meeting that stranger can be a little unsettling, but I think it’s a sign of some new growth we need to investigate.

The mirror is only a reflection. We define who that reflection is. I remember looking in the mirror at certain “snapshot” moments in my life:

The 17-year old who was on the top of her game in high school.

The mid-20s young woman whose heart had been shattered yet again and was starting anew.

The mid-30s woman with a child in her arms, wondering who was this mommy in the reflection.

The 40-something who realized that the boundless youthful energy had slipped away without warning.

It would be easy to mourn the changes and wish for what seemed like a simpler time in life. I don’t think any of our growth or periods in our lives are truly “simpler.” In truth, it’s just that we mastered who that person was and didn’t have to think about who we were. I have met so many people who resist their own evolution and try to hang  on to some earlier time in life. Occasionally, like some recent news stories, their behavior ends in public embarrassment and ridicule. Other times, their Peter Pan-like insistence on hanging on to their youth leads to stunted personal growth that often manifests in relationship troubles and untapped potential.

The stranger in the mirror is a gift in disguise. You have passed the tests of a certain part of your evolution, and you have been advanced to the next stage of growth. Think about how it felt to change grades or schools when you were young: a little scary at first, but you eventually became comfortable and mastered the learning. The constructs of our world promote a belief that learning and growth only happen in certain school grades. The reality is that we all learn different lessons at different times. Matriculation to the next set of lessons occurs when we least expect it.

I urge you to accept the gift of the stranger in the mirror. Find out who this new person is and master yet another life lesson. Be more alive and more of who you were meant to be.

Keep an eye out for that stranger in the mirror and rejoice in your growth!

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