Seeing is believing.......most of the time.

By Adam Glasgow - 7/20/2016

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall……

My brother- and sister-in-law came to visit recently and brought along their cute little “Teddy Bear Dog” Molly. Not being a dog owner myself, I enjoyed playing around with Molly and watching her peculiar doggie habits. There was one Molly behavior I found particularly amusing. She would repeatedly trot up to a mirror, look at her reflection for a moment and then start barking like crazy. (If you are wondering why we have a mirror at dog level, well, that is a story for another time.) After a few Molly-in-the-mirror episodes, it dawned on me that Molly wasn’t seeing herself when she looked in the mirror, but rather what she thought was another dog. (Remember, I am not a dog owner so forgive me if this is, duh, routine doggie behavior).

How many mirrors do you have in your home? In most homes you don’t need to wander too far to find one. They hang in our bathrooms, bedrooms, closets and front halls. Mirrors sit on our dressing tables and decorate our living rooms. Even when we leave our homes, a mirror is never far away – just pull down the visor in your car or grab a mini out of your pocket book. We are rarely without an opportunity to stare back at our own image, whether we chose to or not. Most of us see ourselves many times each day.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Does what you see make you happy or sad? Does the reflected image make you proud or ashamed, confident or afraid? More often than not, what we see is solely our physical appearance and more often than not we are highly critical of what we see.  We are too short or too tall, too fat or too skinny, our clothes are too loose or too tight, too old or the wrong color.  When was the last time you looked in the mirror and smiled at who and what you saw?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a little bit of Molly in us and saw beyond our own physical reflections in the mirror? How differently would we view ourselves if we looked in a “metaphoric mirror” and viewed ourselves as not merely flesh and bone but actually saw reflected in the mirror the vastness and richness of our experience and who and what we truly are?  What a more complete and honest reflection it would be if we could see who we are as human beings--all that we have accomplished, the good deeds that we have done, and the people we have helped and loved.

Why is it that we spend so much time each day seeing our physical reflections and so little time seeing our TRUE reflection? Why don’t we spend less time focusing on our physical appearance and more time taking stock of who we are as human beings?  In our reflection, we need to see the beauty in who we are and the lives we have touched.

As a weight loss surgeon, I certainly try to help people change their health and physical appearance but if I don’t also help them to look in the “metaphoric mirror” and see beyond the physical image to the reflected wonder and richness of their lives then I have not done my job.  The next time you look in the mirror, take a moment to “see” something about yourself, something good that you did recently, a quality that you like about yourself, or who you are as a parent, child, spouse, sibling or friend. Let your mirror reflect who you really are…. and don’t be afraid to bark with excitement at what you see!

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