Mirror Mirror

April 21, 2006

As I look towards the future my thoughts include questions about whether I'll ever be in another relationship. Obviously I am in no shape now to entertain such an undertaking, but someday I will be, and I wonder what that day holds for me. As I ponder that future self it occurs to me that one step I must complete is rediscovering my true self image.

Each of us has an image in his or her head of who and what they are. Our physical, mental, and emotional internal images may have little or no resemblance to our outward appearance, acumen, or lucidity. (Just look at all the anorexia sufferers if you don't believe me.) What's more, I believe, our internal self image becomes dependent in part on the affirmations we receive from those around us. Certainly the most powerful influence in anyone's life is their chosen partner. Initially, in my relationship with Michele, she saw me differently than I saw myself. Over time I learned to see me through her eyes, as it were, and grew to appreciate that image of me. I saw her true beauty and as she incorporated it into her self image her appeal only increased. She saw in me things I couldn't see on my own and over time I incorporated those aspects in to my self image.

Without her here to reenforce my self image I am starting to rediscover how I must appear to everyone else. Perhaps the assumption of how your loved one sees you to the exclusion of reality is what is really meant by "love is blind." Now, I'm not saying that what she saw isn't true, or is in any way wrong. However, I am aware that no one will ever see me quite that way again. As I examine myself and consider my future I realize that part of the journey will be to craft a new self image that aligns more closely with who I am now.

Ultimately who I am today, and who I will become tomorrow is up to me. No matter how strongly I may wish to see myself as someone else does, my truth is mine alone. My physicality, thoughts, and feelings can certainly be colored by an awareness of what people around me see; in the end however the man I become is up to me, and me alone.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.