Friday, June 8, 2012

Who is this person on my mirror, who stares right back at me?

Look into the mirror... NO, I am not kidding....seriously look into the mirror. Instead checking out your skin, face, shave, hair, clothes, etc.... look into the eyes that stare right back at you. Look deep into the person that stares right back at you. Then ask: 'Who are you?'

Have you ever done this exercise? Once in a while I do practice this and to be honest is not always a pleasant exercise, okay, all right, 99.9% of the times is actually an unpleasant experience, but it is an eye opening one. Sometimes I get the answers to my own questions, I must confess that usually I don't like what I hear. Respond to your own question with honesty and sincerity, be candid and brutally honesty, this is the only way this exercise can have any positive result. Sugar coating reality is not going to cut it.

The majority of us have the habit to think that we do our best on everything, then I ask you. Do we? Really? To say we never did anything to deserve this! - Seriously? That we have been treated unfairly? - Truly? That we are always nice to everybody else? - Honestly? That we don't understand why this happened to me? - Are we for real?

If we have the courage to face the person in the mirror and be honest and frank with the same effortless energy that we usually have to judge others we may find that the truth is a 'little tinny' different than the one we perceive.

I will share a personal experience with you - something happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I thought to myself  'I never did anything to deserve this...' this is what I have said and heard many times me and other people saying - 'I did nothing to deserve this....' then looking into the mirror, staring at my red crying tired eyes, looking for an answer inside myself.... it hit me like an eighteen wheeler on a high-speed highway coming down the mountain....

That was where I went wrong....the core of the problem was what I was using to justify myself.... 'I didn't do anything'....

Issues were boiling between me a loved one for a while, I had quiet my own instinct, I had hushed the little voice that urged me to an eye to eye discussion. I silenced myself and behaved like all was well, to avoid a confrontation I made myself believe that everything would all go away, that maybe was just a phase, that as long politeness and common courtesy existed all was fine - oh boy, I didn't see it coming and that was where things went wrong, my biggest mistake was 'to do nothing'.  

Due to my aphaty, my cowardice, my weakness to confront the little signs and situations with an honest conversation, the little problems became out of control and created a parallel life in itself and then it all came to an unexpected and uncontrollable point that all exploded.

There is a saying that I used to hear when little that comes to mind: "The worst blind is the one who refuses to see". I refused to open my eyes to see what was happening. Because it was comfortable, because I was afraid of the consequences, because I was afraid of the truth, I was afraid of loosing - now here I was, getting the truth direct from myself and that was not an easy thing to hear.

When our own shoes hurts it feels differently, the discomfort is bigger, the pain is more profound than when someone else's shoes hurt. We might just ask why don't they change the shoes??? Then again why don't we change ours when it hurts? Just because the response is usually not that simple.

It does amazes me how easy it is to look at others and say what their problems are, where they have made a mistake, how they didn't fight for themselves, etc...and then, when it comes to the person looking back in the mirror, we are so condescending, so flexible with the facts. Funny to learn how reality works in different measures. We are so ready to justify, usually blaming others for our own mistakes or just exonerating ourselves of anything and becoming martyrs.

We must learn how bad pain can be to really exercise true compassion towards others. We must realize that nobody can always be nice (unless they are afraid of showing who they really are and be rejected), that we are not always fair, that we do not always do our best, that even thought we don't want to listen we do, most of the times know and understand why things are happening to us.

Growing is a painful process, but it is also a rewarding one. Being today, better than we were yesterday and striving to be better yet tomorrow is the right and not always glorious path to a fulfilling life. Part of this growing process is not just forgiving others but most importantly... forgiving ourselves.

Being patient, loving, gentle and caring to ourselves while walking the road that will bring us to better understand our own flaws and weakness it will, in time, make us stronger and wiser to be more understanding, loving, caring and forgiving towards others. It is a daily exercise and many times we do make the same mistakes over and over until one day we finally get it, and then we practice to remove that habit from our list of habits. One habit at a time.

Once you finally figure who this person looking back at you is, with all its weaknesses and strenghts, go back once in a while and ask other questions 'What do you want from your life?' 'Are you happy where you are?' 'What can you do to improve and make a better version of yourself?' and so on.

The world can go on and there is very little we can do to change others. There is only one person you can change in the universe and that person is yourself. You can change you mind set, you can eliminate destructive habits, change behavior, re-program and make a 2.0 version of your old self with many enhanced optimizations and became much better than the person you were before. 

We don't, and will never have all the answers. If we can only figure the answer we need now, at this exact moment while looking to our own eyes in the mirror that alone is a huge step forward. We don't get it right all the time. It is humanly impossible. We fall here and there, we just need to be humble enough to stand up again, recognize our weaknesses, ask for, and give forgiveness. Learn how to get one thing right at a time. That alone is how we end up achieving Victory.

N. Cardoso 08/2010

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