Looking in the mirror, you see a reflection of yourself. You notice how your left eye squints a little bit, and that your red shirt is just a little too tight. You take another look and a weird feeling gets a hold of you: you don’t recognize yourself. It doesn’t have anything to do with your shirt – it’s just like you’ve estranged from the real you. But how do you find out who you really are?
Do you know that moment when your colleague says: ‘Looking good!’ but you don’t feel like that at all? When you know you have a good hair day, but deep down, you’re not happy at all? This lack of balance between the way the world sees you, and the way you feel, can be frustrating. You can’t blame anyone for it, because it’s how you feel and it’s not written on your forehead.
The best version of you
The way you present yourself to the rest of the world, is often a polished version of who you really are. The way people act on social media is the perfect example. Everyone is looking picture perfect, every sentence that accompanies the photograph has been carefully composed. People who don’t stick to the Instagram etiquette, usually don’t have lots of followers. There are few people who want to look at pictures that are out of focus. You want to be inspired by people who, in your perspective, have life sorted out – better than you do. And before you know it, you play a part in this play.
If you’re thinking: hey, I never do that! – think about how you behave at work. Do you act exactly the same as you do at home? If you feel bad, do you cry the way you would if you were sitting on the couch all by yourself? Or if you’re having a meeting with your boss about a salary negotiation, do you go there unprepared and laidback, or do you try your best to settle the deal? Unconsciously, we’re constantly pretending to be something we’re not. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you keep doing it, you might lose sight of who you really are.
Time for reflection
That’s why it’s wise to break this circle every now and then, put your foot on the brake and reflect on yourself. Ask yourself: why don’t you recognize the person in the mirror? Why do you feel like you’re out of balance? Did you stop liking your job, or do your friends ask too much of you? Do you feel like you’re not living your best life?
By asking yourself questions, you can get to the heart of this lack of balance. Perhaps you want to do something for the world, so it’s time to start volunteering. Or perhaps you’re missing your family and it would be wise to spend more time with them.
Every once in a while, turn off every device. Step back, take a long walk, or spend a night on the couch with a glass of wine. Let go of your thoughts and see what happens. Chances are things will fall in place now. Most importantly, allow yourself this time to reflect. It’s something you have to do consciously.
Once you take more time to really look at yourself and listen to yourself, to find out what makes you happy and work on that, you will start recognizing that person in the mirror again.
Text: Josephine Kay - Photo: Septian Simon