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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Oct 05, 2023

Mirror, mirror on the wall, why can’t I look at myself at all?

In my past destructive years, I experienced hurt and shame. It was equally divided between self-inflection and the hurtful actions of others. During this dark time, I formed a habit of covering up the pain with my bandage of alcohol and drugs. It numbed the aches and pains for a time but when reality returned, the bandage slipped off and exposed the open wound.

This well-formed habit of using and abusing myself went on for many years because I felt trapped and didn’t know a way out. Each day was a challenge to keep doing the simple things in life, yet I would push ahead and do what I was taught. Get out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, and go out and make the best of the day. While taking a shower I would have the water as hot as I could tolerate because I thought it would wash my shame down the drain. Once out of the shower I’d dread catching a glance in the mirror of myself as I believed it never lied; mirror, mirror on the wall, you’re nothing but trash, dirty, and used, full of darkness that no one will want. The mirror reflected the self-hatred and the terrible acts that were carried out on me.

My eyes would never look directly at me because the person I saw in the mirror was full of sin and unforgiveable.

The habit of having a hot shower and not looking at myself in the mirror lasted for years. I would only give a glance at my image to assure things were in place and my appearance was minimally acceptable even when putting on make-up and fixing my hair. I would only glance at my face and, heaven forbid, never look directly into my eyes.

When recovery from alcohol and drugs entered my world, my brain began cleared from the fog of substance abuse and I was presented with many suggestions from mentors on how to improve my lifestyle. It was a daunting task to begin to learn how to forgive and love myself. One of those mentors proposed a daily exercise for me to practice. I was to begin each morning looking at myself in the mirror, eyeball to eyeball, to see the woman looking back at me. I knew this mirror issue had to be addressed so I agreed to give it a try.

The daily practice was one these loving women who came along side me said would help begin the difficult process of forgiving myself from this dark past. The agreement was tough and painful, but I knew I needed to overcome this obstacle. Each morning I looked in the mirror, eye to eye, to see who truly this woman was looking back at me, and I was to remind myself of what God sees, not me. By pushing through the uncomfortable glare of pain and shame to holding a stare of goodness and love to myself it finally broke the bondage of unforgiveness.

God had forgiven me when I asked Him, it was me who could not forgive myself. I had given Him my heart and wanted Him to help me live a new life with Him being the leader, not me. It was a learning process to realize I needed to forgive and love myself. The women in my life and reading the Bible I found comfort in many verses like Psalm 103:12 TLB He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. God’s Word was penetrating my heart. He had forgiven me, I was forgiving others, and I needed to forgive myself.

Years of practicing this eyeball to eyeball look in the mirror set me free to know I can love myself just as much as God loves me. Now I can hold a stare at the woman who looks back at me, to believe that I’m okay with me, the me God intended me to be. That I am full of goodness, love, and mercy to confidently say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall the woman who looks at me now is the one God wants to share with all.”

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