Thoughts

Mirror Mirror.

Written by Mich BondesioFuture You

How often do you look in the mirror and actively acknowledge the ‘you’ that stares back at you?

Do you ever say hi? Do you smile?

How often do you say “you look great today” or “keep going” or “you’ve got this”?

Here’s the squirmy question … Do you ever say “I love you” to that other version of you in the mirror?

More often, it seems you may post a selfie of you taken through a lens, so that other people can look at your reflection. Which can be something completely different to who and what you actually are feeling or being ‘in the real’.

And what’s the purpose of sharing in this way? Why do we do it? To be acknowledged, because we don’t feel seen.

Look at me.
Look at my outfit.
Look at my hair.
Look at what I’m doing.
Look at me eating and pouting and pushing and primping.

We are battling for attention.

But none of those things are really the ‘me’ that needs to be seen, right?

This war on our attention is impacting on our identity and our mental health.

Tim Wu puts it well…

The attention industry needs people who are in a distracted state, or who are perpetually distractable, and thus open to advertising. And so it has a strong influence on the content of the media, which becomes increasingly attention-seeking and clickbaity, for want of a better term, and ultimately affects us because the kind of media that you’re exposed to starts to influence your own brain and your own personality.

Is our distracted state causing us to lose touch with ourselves? Is it hindering our ability to truly be, look at, and respect ourselves?

We are suckered into being who we think ‘they’ need us to be, because our favourite (and therefore ‘authoritative’) social platform is showing us all that we can be … and all that we’re not. We feel the need to fit in. We need to be ‘that’, because our cognitive biases and social norms dictate that we do ‘that’ (unconsciously, on distracted autopilot).

I’m with Michelle Obama on this:

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list. (not someone else’s).

So, how do we do that?

We build our ‘character’.

By taking responsibility for our lives. By strengthening our identity. By developing our love and respect for ourselves.

A good way to do this is to start living, working and acting more consciously. Paying attention to what you are doing, thinking, saying. How do these things reflect the ‘real’ you? Not the one you portray for the masses, as that’s what everyone is doing and that’s what you think you need to do too.

Is there a disconnect? What is it ‘like you’ to really be? Consider how you can become more of the person you want to be, in your daily thoughts and actions. Think about how you can become more of that person you will trust, love and respect wholeheartedly. Then do it.

Your ‘strength of character’ refers to the mental and moral qualities that define you. You won’t find them out there in ‘Instaland’. You will find them within you. Within that person looking back at you.

People with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life.
Joan Didion

Developing our moral fibre takes work, as does fighting the war on our attention. But doing so helps us to become the version of us that we are always dreaming of becoming, instead of just dreaming of becoming it.

You have to live it, to become it.

It takes practice being more conscious. There are no shortcuts, and there are risks to be taken. And you have to keep working at it. But there is also adventure, growth, enjoyment and reward to be found. Putting in the daily steps to build your character and strengthen your identity, helps you to love yourself better. So that you can become that better, brighter, well-adjusted version of you.

The one you can say I love you to in the mirror.

[Or “I like you”, “I dig you”, “you’re amazing”, etc. — choose the supportive words that work for you]

Self-love isn’t always easy…but that’s where the bravery kicks in. 9 Times out of 10 we are what we need. When we’re the most hurt, anxious, vulnerable, and lost — turning inward and asking what is it that I need? or how can I love myself through this? can start the dialogue of healing. Sometimes we just need reminders that we are capable of being the love that we seek and the love that we give — that we are deserving of the love we long for.
Alexandra Elle

If that’s a bit too heavy on the mushy vibe, take it from Humberto Braga:

Sometimes self-love is a swift kick in the ass. You may need to post reminders on your walls. You may need to set your alarm to 7am each day, with a schedule of priorities you must achieve. You may need to recruit the help of a friend or life coach. You may need to sell all your belongings and change your life entirely because you have too many distractions surrounding you.

He continues with these brilliant words:

Don’t be afraid to set fire to your life. It’s better to burn in a blaze of intensity and make a few mistakes than slowly simmer your life away in the pitiful embers of apathy and regret (and I would perhaps add, …because you don’t like what you see in the mirror).

We have what we need within us, if we are brave enough to look.

Look at yourself. Like yourself. Build yourself. Be kind to yourself.

Keep working on creating a truer version of you, that you can love.

(Not the image on your phone).

Written by
Mich Bondesio
Writer and consultant
Mich Bonesio is a freelance writer for and contributor to the DO Lectures, a consultant, facilitator and mentor, and podcaster. Her work supports independent professionals and creative-thinking business teams to activate their potential and grow better businesses. To develop more mindful approaches to work, to build their resilience, and improve their productivity and performance. She has lived and worked in South Africa, the UK and Europe, wit...

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