It is impossible to see yourself as others do.
It is not because we are incapable of seeing things, but rather, when it comes to ourselves, we understand what we are seeing differently than everyone else.
We make this mistake even when we think that we are objectively looking in a mirror. We make this mistake all the more so when we stare into the ever-present mirror of what people are saying about us on social media or behind our back. We misunderstand how we appear on that video or how we come across in that email.
When we look a group photo, we start searching for ourselves first.
When we walk by a mirror, we make sure our hair is straight or we don’t have something in our teeth, yet fail to notice how horrible that piece of clothing we love actually looks on us. When someone posts a review of something we have created, or responds to something we have written, we dissect it, looking for the kernel of truth that will finally help us see ourselves as others do.
No one understands your self-narrative. No one truly gets what it is like to be you. That kernel of truth you are seeking is not there, no matter how hard you look in the mirror.
Yet, in this season of self-reflection, despite our inability to truly see ourselves, it is comforting to know that we are neither as bad nor as good as we think we are.