It can be hard to look at ourselves when things are not going the way we want them to in our lives. It is much easier to look outside ourselves at everyone else around us. Maybe it has something to do with how uncomfortable it can feel to really look at ourselves honestly. To be reflexive about the ways in which we might have contributed to things going badly for us can, I think, cause us to feel uncomfortable.
I think that sometimes things happen with us to show us ourselves in the way that a mirror does. However, we sometimes avoid looking into that mirror because to do so would mean that we would have to come face to face with our “stuff”. I’ve used this term before in a similar and different sense. Here, “stuff” refers to our personal issues that we keep neatly tucked away most times. Most of us have layers of “stuff,” and just like a cozy robe, we find comfort in those layers. We can cover up parts of ourselves that we do not want to reveal to not only others, but to ourselves even.
And so, there is a sense of safety, of being protected.
Having to disrobe and be “naked” is what becomes uncomfortable for many of us. It makes sense too. To be “naked” can be a very vulnerable feeling and vulnerability can be uncomfortable for us. So, then how do we become comfortable with the uncomfortable? How do we begin to address the roles we have played in things not happening for us, or the things that have gone wrong? Setbacks, terminations, failed relationships, loss opportunities, etc. It can be challenging, but I believe that looking into the mirror rather than running away from it is where it starts.
Addressing our personal issues is a matter of undressing parts of us. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is about sitting with it and getting acquainted with our “stuff”-our attitudes and prejudices, thinking and decision making, fears and insecurities. The more that we are able to be with ourselves, the more we are able to uncover so that the image that emerges in the mirror is our truth. That is what I think disrobing is about. Embracing our truth, though it may be a bit scary at first, allows us to accept responsibility and accepting responsibility can empower us to change what needs to be different in our lives.
It is more difficult to be mobile when we are weighed down with layers of “stuff” and our energy is in looking at everyone else. How can we move if we are stuck blaming and finding fault in others to explain our shortcomings? I don’t know that it’s possible. It is something powerful and freeing about being “naked” with yourself. We all have personal imperfections and a key to our growth is acknowledging them. One of my life’s goals is to become my best self. It is always an ongoing process, but what I know for sure is that it starts and ends with the woman in the mirror.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.