When you look into the mirror, what is it you see? There most likely is a person staring back at you; anytime you have looked into a mirror, that person has been there. This person has been there probably since you can remember. The question is, does this person let the views of others shape them, or do we define our worth by how we are perceived by others?
When we are shaped by another person’s view, we become dependent on the approval of others for our own self-worth. When a person measures up to society’s unrealistic expectations of how a person should look and act, then being shaped by others will not be not as hurtful. The issue is that it seems like no one measures up to the expectation, and there is an understanding that no one is perfect.
Has this expectation of how one should act and look made it where we avoid the mirror at all cost? Does the mirror just remind us of the ways we “fall short?” The way the narrative of self-worth has played out in society is that a person should be their “best self,” but if their “best self” is not my idea of what that should be, then they are mistaken.
“Being my best self;” what does that even mean? Does that mean conforming who I am and my views to reflect other’s, or does it point to somewhere else? Yet one’s self-worth is not defined by other people. Other people do not get to decide if who I am is good enough. The value and worth of a person go beyond that of following the right fad and acting in a way that will most adopt the personalities around them.
If I have spent so much time trying to avoid looking in that mirror, the mirror that points to a person who is flawed, how do I now look face to face with the person I am and see the worth and value? Maybe these flaws have to do with physical appearance, maybe it has to do with personality or even spiritually. Regardless, the message is the same: other people do not define who you are.
Those who profess Christ have this piece of Scripture, 1 Peter 2:9 (NRSV): “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Other people do not define anyone else’s worth and value. A Christian’s belief is that God, who created all people and all things, sees the worth and value of who they are, in who he created each person to be. When you look into that mirror, who is it you see: a person that is dragged down by the expectations of others, or a person who sees the value and worth they had in themselves since their creation?
(Photos by Caleb Bechtold)