He cursed the traffic as he stepped on the gas and swerved left into the gas station. Another hectic morning awaited him at the plant, and he was already running late due to the baby having been up most of the night. His wife had nudged him awake every time the baby cried with no consideration to the fact that he had to go to work in the morning. Of course, he was too exhausted to make it to the gym…third time this week!
The lady behind him honked her horn yet again as though willing the cars lined up before her to magically disappear. Don’t people realize the sound of a horn doesn’t encourage someone to move out of your way? It’s not really what it was designed for, yet commuters seem to use it for solely that purpose. It’s about as effective as yelling at the drivers around you to “Move your ass!” or “Step on it!” How many responses do you think drivers have gotten when they angrily spit out the question, “Where did you get your driver’s license, a Cracker Jack box?”
Shaking his head he headed into the convenience store to pay since it seemed the option to pay at the pump wasn’t an option for him this morning. It was definitely going to be one of those days. Even the sound of the door jingling as he entered added to the quick escalation of his sour mood. Aren’t those annoying bells intended to hang on a cat not a door?
Heads turned and although people made eye contact with him, not one of them smiled, as though they couldn’t really see him. Cursing under his breath at the sight of the long line to the register, he took his place and sighed. Was he the only one in a hurry to get somewhere today? And, what was wrong with these miserable people? This was turning out to be the kind of morning he wished he hadn’t gotten out of bed for.
Consumed with anger and impatience, he looked around the store as he waited. Looking up at the front counter, he caught a glimpse in the mirror. Wondering how effective those mirrors were for catching shoplifters, he studied the back of a man’s head who was quite clearly balding. He thought, “Hmmm, it could always be worse I guess. I could be that guy with that large, embarrassing bald spot on the back of my head. Glad that’s not me.”
Shifting in line as forward progress seemed to move at a snail’s pace, his eyes travelled back to the mirror and he suddenly gasped. He slowly turned around to find another mirror set up in the back of the store which could only mean one thing. His day had just gotten worse. That balding man in the mirror wasn’t some random guy. It was him!
As he looked at the people around him, he took in the woman dressed in a business suit digging in a diaper bag for her wallet while trying to balance her cup of coffee. A young boy with a sleepy look couldn’t stop yawning and he remembered a co-worker mentioning it was college finals week. The clerk behind the counter looked frazzled as she apologized profusely for the computer system being slow this morning.
In that moment, he suddenly realized that seeing his reflection was more eye opening than he thought. Obviously, he had a hair loss issue, but that wasn’t his only problem. Why was he complaining about getting up with his own child at night or feeling sorry for himself for not being able to get to the gym? His wife was just as tired as he was and it had been months since she had been able to do anything for herself.
And, normally he was one of the people honking and yelling at other drivers for not moving fast enough for him. He was the one encountering people throughout his day, yet never really seeing them, so self absorbed in his own misery. It took his own reflection in the line at the gas station to show him who he really was, and as shocked as he was that he was balding it was definitely something he needed to see.
It’s never “us” until we see a reflection of ourselves. Whether, it’s about how much weight we’ve gained, how we’ve let ourselves go, our attitude toward others, and even our parenting skills, we are quick to judge others not truly seeing our own reflection in what we are criticizing.
Have you ever had a moment when you were surprised by an unexpected revelation of yourself?
Take a look at your reflection. Really look at it.
After you’ve taken in the physical, look a little deeper.
Now, be honest with yourself.