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“Man in the Mirror” and “Below the Surface” by Dan Fogelberg (from “Captured Angel”)

What mask do you wear? When do you put it on? For whom? Who is your audience? Do you have more than one mask and change them the way you do your wardrobe, depending upon the occasion? Are you ever without your mask? What is your biggest fear about letting the world see you without your mask(s)?

Dr. Phil says that our “personal truth” hides behind the masks we wear and I believe he is right.

We all have a social mask, right? We put it on, we go out, put our best foot forward, our best image. But behind that social mask is a personal truth, what we really, really believe about who we are and what we’re capable of. ~~ Phil McGraw (“Dr. Phil”) ~~

Our personal truth is what we see when we stand before the mirror and look – – not glance, but really look at our reflection, study it, consider if we see ourselves the way the world sees us.Is seeing a photo of yourself a jolting experience? Sometimes it is for me because I don’t recognize the woman in the photo. That is especially true if someone snaps a candid photo of me, catching me off guard. Then I look in the mirror and realize . . . wow, that is how I look . . . on the outside. Usually, I think I look like I did in that photo I included in Friday’s Feast and am shocked to see a 50-year-old woman staring back at me!

But beyond the obvious consternation about getting older, there is the struggle to perfectly align the internal and external images, and have the world see, understand, appreciate, validate, and embrace our authentic self.

As I was sitting here typing this post, Dan Fogelberg’s “Man in the Mirror” began running through my head. “Captured Angel” is one of my all-time favorite albums . . . I can’t count the number of times I have heard and sung the lyrics, but as I get older, I come to understand them more fully:

The man in the mirror
He keeps getting nearer but I am not moving
The man in the back street is holding a track meet
But I will not run
Someplace inside you a seed has been born
You’ve got to watch it grow
Someplace inside you a river is waiting to flow
Will you let it goThose voices you’re hearing are never worth fearing
They’re only inside you
They’ll tempt you and taunt you
They’ll help you and haunt you but don’t try to hide
Sometimes the sun will be right at your shoulder
Helping you keep your stride
Sometimes you might have to give up a piece of your pride
Have you even tried?

In my interpretation of the song, he’s singing about the seeds of self-confidence and belief in oneself, planted side by side, during our childhood and young adult years, with the seeds of self-doubt.

Which seeds have taken root and prospered over the years? Which are dominant? Which voices do you listen to? The ones that say “Put on your mask! Don’t let them see the real you! Don’t risk it! You’ll only be hurt again! They won’t accept or love you! Hide!”

Or the ones that say, “I am worthy, valuable, lovable, and have much to contribute. I don’t always succeed but I learn from my mistakes and I get right back in the game. I don’t need a mask.”I endeavor to like the face I see in the mirror each morning . . . even though it is no longer the unlined, unweathered face of an 17-year-old girl on the cusp of the rest of her life. These days, I try to leave the masks I used to don consistently in an effort to fit in and be accepted here at home when I venture out into the world each morning, ignoring the voices — internal or external — that tempt and taunt me to put them on and hide behind them.

I know that the woman in the mirror is getting nearer and nearer and nearer . . . but I am determined not to run.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Is It Just Me?, Big Dog’s Weblog, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Pursuing Holiness, third world county, Right Celebrity, Woman Honor Thyself, Wake Up America, , stikNstein… has no mercy, Pirate’s Cove, Nuke’s news and views, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, The Random Yak, A Blog For All, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam’s Blog, Webloggin, Cao’s Blog, Phastidio.net, The Bullwinkle Blog, , Jo’s Cafe, Conservative Cat, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, High Desert Wanderer, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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