Taking a selfie with an SLR is an interesting experience, especially when you forgo a tripod and rely on handholding. Thankfully my Sony Alpha has ‘steady shot’ which helps a little.
I was juggling with said camera this week in order to take a recent picture of myself to send to DLT with my author publicity form. So – recent and decent, then. Yes, I could have asked someone to take it for me, but I decided to try myself initially – it meant I could take as many as I liked without wearying the photographer (“I’m not sure. Can you take another one/ten/fifty please?”). Eventually settled on one (you can see the black and white version on the homepage).
The mirror shot above was my moment of blurry flippancy at the end of the ‘photoshoot’! Apparently a picture frame has embedded itself in my head. Looking at it made me think (gosh). How do we perceive ourselves? What do we see when we look at ourselves – either in the mirror, or when we examine ourselves in a deeper, more fundamental way?
Who am I? How much is true of my own self-perception – and how much of that is held in common with what others think? The two wobble about, often opposing. I commented to a friend recently that we see so many things we don’t like in a photo of ourselves, even where someone else would think: what a nice picture. We, however, fixate on some small part: What is my left eyebrow doing?!
It works two ways. We can become so focused on the things we struggle with that we see little else. Our friends and acquaintances see other things but not necessarily the things we hide – insecurities and the not-so-attractive motives. When they complement us, it can be hard to take when we’re ultra-aware of our ugly bits. Such as when we’re complemented on our kindness and we know how unkindly we’ve thought of someone. When we’re praised for our courage and we know when we’ve backed off in fear. Praise – particularly effusive praise – can be so far away from our self perception we find it hard to believe.
The likelihood is that both sides carry truth, just not all of it. There will be things that others see in us that we never notice. There are aspects of ourselves that only we know – and even if we wanted to, can’t always explain (words – such imperfect things).
The only One who knows us to the depths – who sees our hearts, our motives and all the things that spills from us – is the One who formed us, who wove us together.
The One who loves us, in our beauty and in our ugliness.
To see who I am, to see who I am meant to be – I look to the One who dreamed me up in the first place.