Look in the mirror. Who do you see? How do you see yourself? Are you defined by what you do, or what you have, or where you grew up? Do you use certain words to describe yourself? Do you let others define who you are, how you see yourself, or what you do?
In hot yoga there are large mirrors in front of you so you can focus on yourself, looking at form and stabilizing your posture and your breath during all 26 not-so-relaxing poses. This morning, my instructor encouraged us to look into ourselves. “Don’t look past yourself,” he said. “When else do you get 90 minutes to look at yourself and figure out what you see, who you are, and what you are made of?”
This was an interesting thought that impacted the rest of my class. I had never heard someone say anything like that or even thought about a different way of looking in a mirror. Typically I focus on looks, using a mirror as a reflection of the outside of me. I check how a shirt looks, or how my pants fit; I brush my teeth, wash my face, or put makeup on..turn the light off and go. Something I do every single day becomes something I have never even stopped to think about. My definition of myself became external instead of really looking, investigating, discovering, and identifying who is on the inside. My focus in class was different, my mind reengaged.
I promised myself not to define myself by my struggles, but to see my strengths. I know I can change something if I don’t like how it looks on me; certain qualities are not too flattering on me and I now know the ones that are most attractive. I try to catch myself before I define myself by what I am not, instead of what and who I am. How you feel might not always be what’s reflected in the person looking back at you. Take a look: who do you see? I mean, seriously, who do you really see? Let yourself be surprised.