A look in the mirror

The most powerful thing I have done for myself in the last year or so is to see myself through other people’s eyes. The woman who is looking back at me from the mirror of other people is completely different from the woman who looks out. Yet they are both me, and both very real.

Whenever people tell me something about what they see when they look at me, I am surprised. They see a strong woman, someone who stands in her own power, someone who is competent and confident. Somebody who is very capable of pulling off what I have set out to do with my life in the next few years.

I love that woman people see. She’s great. And at times I recognise her. When my boss says I’ve had a very positive impact on her team, that I am a peacemaker, I recognise the Druid in me. When I friend says I have real warrior power, I recognise my ancestor’s bloody minded stubbornness. When people acknowledge me as priestess, I feel my calling stir in me, driving me on.

Yet looking out from the inside, things feel very different. I am stressed. Every fibre of my body tells me so. My shoulders have been tense for months. My stomach pain is more intense than it has been since January. I can feel the weight of what we’ve taken on. And sometimes my inner 8-year-old still throws a tantrum and demands my attention. She can very quickly make me forget how old I am and reduce me to a state of tearful insecurity.

When I talk about that child with people who have known me for quite some time, they are also surprised. They never realised she exists, and that she has the power to cut me off from other people and my connection to all that is.

That child needs my love and care. For her sake, I need to be endlessly gentle and patient with myself. Loving her and holding her securely gives the other side of me the freedom to act in the world.

I never would have realised any of this without the insight of a counsellor. But just as important was my decision to pick up the courage and ask people what they see. It has been a revelation. My task now is to give both sides of my self the acknowledgement they need.

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  1. Jonathan said,

    12 September, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Really fascinating! I’m glad you’ve had such a profound insight Hilde – to me, you always have been a tower of serene strength, but you’re human like all of us, so I’m not in the least bit surprised to hear that you have times of bad temper and stress.

    I think I also have a lot of trouble with the difference between the man everyone else sees and my inner life. I often feel that if I don’t faithfully replicate my outer behaviour in my inner attitudes, I’m being dishonest, somehow.

    Of course, this is foolish – I don’t need to share all my inner trials with everyone! But I need to accept that in my heart, and be gentler with myself.

  2. hilde said,

    16 September, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    Hugs, Jonathan. The secret is to love both sides of yourself. Because they are both equally you and equally precious.
    I bet you couldn’t be the man we see on the outside without the person you are on the inside.
    ‘t Was lovely to see you at the handfasting.

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