Growing up, I had an area that habitually undermined me from being a success in life. Was it…
A lack of resources? Nope.
Bad family life? Thankfully no… I grew up in a great home.
Bad friends? Mean teachers? Slight dimwittedness? Nope (jury’s out on that last one).
Then what was my persistent source of failure?
You may be surprised.
My biggest undermining feature was this: Myself. I never fully believed in myself.
I’d take on a task, try to give it my best, but in the back of my head hovered the persistent doubt that I couldn’t do it. And so with every undertaking, I listened to that voice. The more I listened, the louder it grew because I believed it.
The result was I became a failure.
Sad. All that potential growing up, unused. People say youth is wasted on the young, and this rang true in my life!
So how does one turn this type of issue around….?
THE MIRROR IMAGE
Michael Winegeart, one of my college business professors and a wildly successful man in his own right, told our class about something he called the “mirror image”.
According to Winegeart, everyone has a mirror image. You can’t be without one. Your mirror image is that one person in your life whose approval is most important to you, whose affirmation you crave [enter Daddy issues comment here].
This person doesn’t have to know you exist. They could even be 6 feet under! [Yes, we can still crave the approval of a dead person!]
How ridiculous does that sound? Yet many of us do it. We perform for someone’s approval – imaginary or otherwise.
The point is that to us, they’re very much alive. Real. And from their known (or unknown) platform in our lives, this person – our mirror image – dictates how we see ourselves, how highly (or not-so-highly) we view ourselves, and what we perceive we can offer the world.
Whew! That’s quite a place we’ve given them.
Winegeart called it our “mirror image” because it’s what we look to to determine what we’re made of – our mirror reflecting back to us who we are.
The problem is: It’s an imperfect mirror, displaying to us a false self.
NO ONE knows what your potential is! No one can weigh the worth of all you are, all you can do, and who you’ll become in the future.
No one can determine your worth by knowing you, not even if they reared you, grew up in the same house with you, or committed the rest of their life to “have and to hold” you.
Your pastor can’t see it. Your grandma, God bless her, can’t see it (or much of anything?). Even those who see you every day – your roommates, coworkers, or neighbors – aren’t privy to it.
No one has the power to tell you who you are.
But if you think they do – if you GIVE THEM that power – you become like a puppet on a string, trying to meet their demands as best you can. You aren’t free to live your life, YOUR dreams, or God’s plan for you. You are a slave to them!
Well that’s not my problem!, some of you may be thinking. I’m very confident. I don’t look to anyone else for reassurance and approval.
Wow, my hat’s off to you for being the 1% of people who can stand on their own two feet without anyone else’s input. Impressive!
Secondly, I may have to nudge you off your high horse a little because it appears you’ve fallen into this same trap, too – this “mirror image” problem.
Because YOU are your own mirror image. And by definition, your limitations and short-sightedness as a human make even you impossible to know what your own self is capable of.
If you know me well enough or have read this blog a few times, you know where I’m going with this.
We can’t get our need for affirmation from ourselves, from our boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, from our parents, or anyone else.
They can encourage us, and we hope they do. But we’ll never be satisfied with their feedback forever. We weren’t meant to be. They’re as limited in understanding what we’re made of as we are ourselves.
They don’t know the future.
He doesn’t know your passions.
She can’t see your buried talents.
You’re unaware of what you can accomplish or even what your gifts may be!
Growing up, my problem was that I defined myself through the wrong person’s eyes. Though the particular person changed from time to time, the underlying theme was that they were human, just like me, and thus ill-equipped to tell me who I am.
So if we must have one, who do we look to as our Mirror Image? What criteria must they have?
- Knowing the future
– Knowing our potential
– Knowing our hidden gifts & talents
– Knowing our passions, desires, & dreams
– Knowing what we can accomplish in our lifetime
It’s safe to say we can replace this laundry list with “All Knowing”. What a job description.
Only God can know all these things about you, your life, your future, and the world around you. Quit expecting humans to fill His shoes.
Don’t give others the right to define you. And don’t define yourself – you’ll only limit your possibilities! Even if you’re a dreamer, you could never supersede God’s incredible plan for your life. Release your expectations of others/yourself to define who you are and instead shift this need in your heart onto God.
Today’s Challenge: Ask God to become your Mirror Image, the One whose reflection you see yourself in! You don’t have to make it happen on your own. Ask for His help – because anyone else will limit you to who they see you as. Then ask Him to make you into ALL He envisioned when He created you.