“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
Are you unable to see yourself clearly and/or to separate your self from others needs? There is a great tendency to see others through our own window. In fact, it is so prevalent that we don’t often know we are doing that; seeing others through our perspective. And, if we are used to not being seen it can be quite difficult to see us clearly, or at all.
I have two stories that relate to this subject. The first story I will address in this week’s blog and the second story I will address next month. The second story deals with a woman who is so eager to help that she doesn’t realize that she is doing it for herself and sees others through her own perspective. This week’s story deals with a woman who is lost in the mirror.
In this week’s story, I was working with a woman who had not been seen by either parent. One left when she was four years old, and the other was a teenage parent already with two children and not able to see her child from her own needs. Can you imagine what it is like to be very little and not be seen? In this case, her mother couldn’t wait to get out of the house and married at the age of around 15. She had her first child by 15 and her second child by 17. Dad and mom tried to be good parents, and tried to stay together, but they were so young. Mom didn’t realize that she wasn’t available to her husband or her children. The grandmother, mom’s mom, lost her mother very young. The great grandma had an affair, so the story goes, and so she was sent away from the family by the great grandfather. She had to leave her young children. The hurt everyone felt was overwhelming, and unbearable. They all survived….but the grandmother grew up blaming herself and not knowing how to mother. Already in this story you can see how everyone’s actions were about them. The grandmother wasn’t seen and she got trapped in the mirror of herself.
The grandmother has two daughters. One of them, my client’s mom, grows up and can’t wait to leave. She was angry and sad. My client, as a little girl, just wanted to be seen and loved as herself. Her good memory is just being with mom, who allowed her to be with her, but all centered around mom. This woman, now grown, has four children and is having difficulty separating their needs from her own. She wants to do what is best for them, but she is confused. She loves going on stage as an actress or speaker because she feels seen. But who is the audience really seeing?
She is trapped in the mirror with the big question, who am I? And, is it okay to be seen? All she sees in herself is a reflection of her. Who is she really? As she figures this out, it will help her four children as well as honor all the mothers and children who came before her. As a facilitator, I work to help her to see herself, in the mirror, and in herself.
Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results: an exercise
I think most of us have elements of being trapped in the mirror. Here is an exercise designed to help us come out of the mirror.
Give yourself about five minutes for this exercise; don’t belabor it.
Find a good sized mirror, or the mirror in your bathroom. Just look at yourself.
What comes up for you? What do you see? Who do you see? Can you even look at yourself? As you look, do you really see yourself? How long can you look at yourself? Can you feel yourself?
Next, write down your thoughts, feelings and experience. Do this every day for a week and see how it evolves for you.
Again the purpose here is to learn about you, gently, and help us to come out of the mirror. It is not unusual to have young thoughts and feelings come up for you. Feel free to reach out for help if needed, and to share your experience.