Living life on the inside of our faces makes us blind to certain things. We can’t see bad our poker face is. Or whether we have spinach in our teeth. And sometimes we don’t realise how emotions that we’re trying our best to hide from ourselves are written right there on our face.
Tara Well writes for Mindful.org about her efforts to get to know herself more deeply by looking at herself. Not as an object for other people’s approval, but as a subject for her own self-study:
One day I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror and was shocked by how sad and distressed I looked — I’d barely realized I felt that way thinking I felt “fine.” I came to realize that I’d been cultivating an image of myself that I thought would be pleasing to other people, and in the process, I’d lost touch with how I felt inside.
I began to take time to look at my reflection in the mirror, not to focus on my appearance or to imagine how I looked to others, but to simply acknowledge myself and get in touch with how I felt. In doing this over time, I found a way to look past the imperfections in my appearance and see deeper into my own eyes with compassion. It became a meditation. A way to simply be present with no goal other than to be there with myself.
Few of us take the time to look at our faces other than to check it’s suitability for public consumption, but if we look into our own eyes, we find that there’s more there than we might have expected.