What if I told you that the reflection of yourself you see every time you stand in front of a mirror is not the real you. Do you remember how sometimes in the trial room at the shopping mall, you look unusually disproportionate, or your nose looks beaten? Raise your hands if you are like me – often wondering why the dress looks so different at home or why it doesn’t look as good anymore.
John Walter saw himself accidentally when the medicine cabinet mirror joined at 90 degrees to the backwards bathroom mirror in front of him, and what he saw was very disturbing. He saw that the smile which he thought was his asset looked fake. Since, then he created and developed – what he called “the true mirror” when two mirrors are placed at a right angle there is no image correction. His optical precision became viral, and ever since then, museums, art galleries, engineers, designers and of course the retailers, they all wanted a true mirror!
I got an opportunity to look at myself in a true mirror, and, honestly, I was aghast! Knowing the fact that the image a true mirror shows is extremely accurate and is how in reality one is perceived, made me wonder, of how big a hypocrite I have been to myself.
I thought of all the times I practiced that smile, front of my mirror, until it was perfect enough, that smile is not the same to the other person. It is diluted and surreal. The hours of practice that went into striking that perfect posture while addressing a crowd, went in vain, because that is not the image the audience saw. But, then I told myself – “hey wait a minute, if the smile was not the same and the oratory skills displayed was not as practiced, who were they all applauding for?”
For the real me! For the real me, that I could not suppress in spite of all the self-talk, comparisons and pressure. The pressure of looking good, speaking sense, and feeling wanted has consumed the real us, and we choose to portray ourselves as the person the rest of the world wants to see. And sometimes we get so carried away by people pleasing, so much, so that, we need a true mirror to wake us up.
The question to be asked is, do we have the courage to be the person we truly are? I have tried and I have failed. Every time I have tried to be the person I truly am, I have either lost a friend, hurt someone, and come across as arrogant. The real me – does not like to be surrounded by people, highly despises sarcasm and is extremely passive. But, would I be successful at work and school, would I be popular among people with those qualities? Not in the world I know!
Many-a-times it becomes imperative to habituate and adopt qualities which might not be a part of our core belief system, but it is what is required to get the job done or to feel involved. However, it is important that in due process, one does not become a stranger to oneself. I have times when I am completely blunt and times when I am selfless and can go to any extent to see the other person smile. It all narrows down to being able to balance ourselves in flesh and alter ego.
I believe that the greatest minds are not always the ones who choose the path not taken, but, the one to portray the unusual as approachable and as right as the obvious. There is immense charm and mystique the natural us possesses which can never be matched or taught by any personality trainer or well-being instructor. In different walks of life, people come and go, and the ones who remain are only those who recognize your true nature and admire you for who you truly are and not for the thick skin you portray. Perhaps, the reason why Maslow placed self-actualization on top of the pyramid. All it takes is one opportunity, to not be judgmental to yourself and to allow the natural you to live. And that one moment is all that it takes, to determine your career projection, your real friends, your love and most importantly it gives you the courage to accept the person in your eyes – your very own true mirror!