A Look At The Person In The Mirror
Unquestionably, one of the things that we all have in common is that we occasionally look at ourselves in a mirror. Whether in our bathrooms, bedrooms, or other areas of our homes, we spend time looking at the person in the mirror. Often in public places like where we work, shop, or do business (for example: beauty salon, barber shop, or grocery store) we meet the person in the mirror. Today, I want to make this article personal by asking you is that person you often look at in the mirror really you or a reflection or image of the real you? In actuality, it is but it isn’t. Let me clear up that incongruous statement. The man, the woman, or person we look at is really us. It is as the popular saying goes, “What you see is what you get” or to be more accurate, “Who you see is who you are.” Nevertheless, this image could be just a reflection or a veneer of the character that dwells within. Each of us, whether we know it, admit it, or deny it, is really three people. We are tripartite, not schizophrenic basket cases with multiple personalities. Simply stated, we are who we think we are; who others think we are; and finally to the point, who we really are. Let us consider each of these aspects of our individualities.
Who We Think We Are
In a true sense, I am and you are who we think we are. Everyone, whether they are willing to admit it or not, has an image fixed in their minds of who they are. This is true for everyone and there are no exceptions. Let me use myself as an example. I have an image fixed in my mind of who I am. The man that I perceive myself to be may not always live up to the expectations or standards of others. He may not possess the qualities or abilities that others think he should in order to receive their approval. However, he is real to me. He is as real as the sun, the moon, and the stars, in spite of all of his flaws, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies. Perhaps he is just an imaginary person who lives only in my mind and dreams. However, I cannot deny – I dare not deny that he exists. Without this part of my total self, life would be boring and bland. It is through him that I can dream, hope, and sprout wings and escape the bondage of misery and mediocrity.
Think We Are
The second person of the trinity of self is the one that others perceive us to be — the one that is either the most admired and celebrated or the most criticized and distained. He or she is the one who shows up at public functions like parties, class reunions, and even church. This part of our tripartite being is the one who has mastered the art of putting on make-up, maintaining a façade, and projecting a public image to stay popular with the masses. Celebrities and politicians are by far the most crafty and effective at the art of projecting an image to the public that is fabricated in order to deceive. Regrettably, even an alarming amount of preachers or men of the cloth have become adherents to the practice of impressing and misleading people. They are what the Good Book calls “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Perhaps, no story or example that I know of in history or fictional literature captures the point I am endeavoring to make like the charlatan in the Wizard of Oz. This man had managed to deceive the citizens of Oz into believing that he was a great and powerful wizard by using a projection of an image on a big screen. When there was trouble or imminent danger from outside the walls of the city, they would run to the wizard who was really just an image on the screen. He was able to work his shenanigan until a little dog name Toto pulled the curtain and exposed him as a fraud. Regrettably, too many people in this part of their tripartite make-up is similar to the quack who, after being exposed, still tried to continue his deception by saying, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”
Out of the three perceptions of our personalities, this final one is perhaps closest to the person that we really are. Through personal experience, observation, and study of human behavior and relations for many years, I have discovered a technique of how to truly know people, beyond their personal assessment, and the often doctored opinion of others. There are, in my estimation, three things that will bring out the real person from behind the veneer of maintaining the proper image or public perception. Firstly, there is perhaps no one who can maintain a façade when put under pressure. How you act or react when pressure comes is an indication of who you really are. Men who prided themselves as macho and even heroic beings proved to be quite the opposite when put in a predicament of war when their lives were on the line.
Then there were others who seemed timid and weak who rose to the occasion and became heroes under the same circumstances. The person that emerges under pressure is the real you. Secondly, the way we behave ourselves in the darkness, when no body we know is present or is watching us, is another true indicator of our true personality. Many people are like vampires. They sleep and lie low when it is day; however, when darkness comes, these nocturnal creatures of the night come out of their shells. Little wonder why so much evil, mischief, crime, and maleficence transpire in the obscurity of the night. Finally, the real you will come forth when you are tempted. Temptation has a way of revealing what is really in a person. It has a way of drawing the poison out of your personality, even when you were not fully aware that it was there all the while awaiting to surface. Temptations that come in many forms will prove who you really are. Whether you are tempted by money, power, position, or sexual promiscuity, your attitude and conduct during such times is a true indication of who you really are.
I hope that something I’ve shared here will prove to be helpful to you in getting to know the real you – the real person behind the face and the image in the mirror.