What do you see in the mirror?
Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine yourself looking in a mirror. What do you see? For a long time, when I looked in the mirror, all I saw were the flaws. I would fixate on the blemishes and the imperfections, the small things that I couldn’t stand about my image. But my problem wasn’t only with my physical appearance. I was constantly worrying about not meeting expectations, and I felt a crushing amount of self-doubt and negativity. I would lie awake at night wondering if I would ever achieve anything—if I would meet any of my goals.
Sometimes I missed school because I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I struggled with the idea of God being Love, because while I thought that I loved others, I felt I was unable to love myself. I stubbornly refused to turn to Christian Science because of the nature of the problem; I felt it was up to me to change my thought and become more positive.
Something shifted, though, when I realized how many healings I’d had that came about due to my study of Christian Science. At that point, I did turn to the ideas in the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, for help, and I’m so grateful I made that decision, because it changed everything.
Once I decided to tackle my struggle to love myself with my understanding of God and Christian Science, I went to the core of the problem, to the very meaning of the word Love. Since I’ve attended the Christian Science Sunday School from the time I was little, I’ve heard the phrase “God is Love” (see I John 4:8) innumerable times, but I never felt that I truly understood what it meant.
As I thought about it more deeply, I realized that to me “God is Love” means that the very essence of God, and the 100 percent pure and fundamental element of our relation to Him, is love. God is unwavering, ever-present Love. Love isn’t partial—touching some but not others. Love includes everyone and bathes everyone in its light. Therefore, the love I express, which is a reflection of Love itself, cannot be solely directed at others; rather, it has to include me, too. It embraces us all in its ever-presence.
A second idea that helped me overcome the challenge of resentment and self-doubt was the story of creation. Not the Adam and Eve story, but the inspired version of creation, found in chapter one of Genesis and illuminated by Science and Health as the spiritual and real creation story. In the Genesis 1 version of creation it says, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (verse 31). I realized I’d spent a lot of time thinking, “Obviously I don’t fall into this category of ‘very good’ because I’m not very good and I’m not going to achieve anything.” But is it really my role, or anyone else’s, to decide whether I am “good enough”? No. God’s view of me as “very good” is the only true view, and it is what defines me.
As I prayed with these ideas, I started to view myself in a completely different light. I began to see myself the way God sees me: His perfect expression. I realize now that the “mirror” I used to look into was warped—distorted by my refusal to see myself as a perfect child of God. By turning away from it, and toward the spiritual sense of creation, I can now see myself in God’s likeness—shaped by Love and worthy of love. Now that the burden has been lifted with this healing, I can stand up straighter, laugh louder, and be happier. This healing has strengthened my relationships by eradicating the negativity that used to hold me back from being what God made me to be. And, most of all, it has allowed me to love myself for what I am—God’s reflection.