The Woman in the Mirror
“Who is the woman in the mirror?” I sometimes ask that question when I’m standing in front of a mirror and often the answer is “I don’t know”. Maybe it’s because it’s part of transitioning through stages of my life or I’m in the process of reinventing myself (again) and it could also be that I’ve been focussing inward (looking at my life) for too long rather than outward (living my life). This happens a lot when I’m in discovery mode rather than living mode. It’s not a bad thing but it is something to be aware of and adjust when I spend too much time in that space. There are times and places for both modes when I’m in the process of exploring who I am as a person. For those of us going through the process of discovering who we are, it’s an important part of the process.
It seems that life is a series of opposites with examples everywhere we look. There is the yin and yang, the positive and negative, the good and bad, the up and down, the here and there, now and then, back and forth, young and old, hot and cold, day and night, sunrise and sunset, the list goes on and on. It’s important to remember this when you are asking the question, “who am I?” Why is it important? Because we are many things and often we get stuck behind the image of who we think we are and it’s often the source of your limiting belief about yourself. One of my most limiting beliefs, in the past, was “Others won’t like me if they really knew me”. This belief is quite common as I hear other women talk about being frauds and inauthentic. The issue is, I have an idea of who I am based on traits, thoughts and actions and other people (from their perspective) do as well. So who am I? The answer is: I am the collective sum of all the perspectives including mine!
First of all, let me be very clear, there is nothing wrong here and exploring this topic can be fun and quite insightful! In my experience, when I’m seeing myself as less than desirable or ugly or unlovable, I am spending too much time listening to my internal voice, the one connected to some limiting belief I haven’t eradicated yet. When I am listening to others I see a completely different woman and it has a huge effect on how I feel! Whose perspective should I trust to be true, mine or theirs? As I have found out there is no clear answer to this question. It’s important to understand who you are and you are free to create your own definition BUT (and a big but at that) if your day to day life experience includes struggle, hardship, anger (yours or others toward you) and you no longer want that in your life then it’s important to understand how others see you because, in their perspective, you will find views of you that you may not be aware of. Your ways of being that are not in alignment with who you think you are.
How can you find out how you appear to others? Well, just ask and listen to what they have to say. Listen without judgement, without emotion and without making them wrong for sharing their perspective. The safer you make this for them the more honest they will be with you. You do have to accept what they share and understand it’s just a perspective. Remember the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? The main character, George, gets a do-over in his life when he becomes aware of who he is in the eyes of others and so do you if you want your life to be different!
Here are 5 short questions, you can ask the people in your life, that will provide you with some insight as to how you occur in the world. Before you ask these questions, let them know that their honesty is vital to the exercise and that you are ready to hear their responses. No matter what their responses are you will not make them wrong for sharing. They have to feel safe otherwise you will not get what you need from this exercise. You may not like what you hear and you need to hear it if you want to make adjustments in your life. When I did this exercise I can honestly say I did hear things I didn’t like, I acknowledged their courage and I was grateful to the person for sharing. Their honesty gave me what I needed to see where I was stuck in my life. Before you finish with each question, ask them “is there anything else?” and continue to ask this question until they say no. This is an effective tool to stimulate more answers (if there are any). Be sure to document their responses, I guarantee you will forget all but a few by the time you are done with this exercise.
Who Am I Interview Questions
- From your perspective, what are my strongest character traits?
- What character traits do I have that challenge you?
- In your experience of me, what am I good at?
- How do you think other people see me?
- In your experience of me, what do you think I struggle with?
Who to ask? I recommend that you choose a cross-section of people. Some who know you well and others who are new in your life and don’t. Friends and family members will be the safest and typically less forthcoming with ‘honest’ answers as they have the most to lose by telling you the truth. You have to find a way to help them feel safe for sharing. People you work with will give you a different perspective than people you live with. What you are looking for in these interviews are ways of being that you may not be aware and confirmation of what you already know. The more interviews you do the more insight you will receive. My last word of advice with this is to have fun with it! Make it a fun game for both you and the people you interview, it will be more rewarding in the end.