Don’t Cheat the Man in the Glass?

glass

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr., published 1934

At the end of the day, when we are alone in the bathroom we should take our time and look ourselves straight in the eye. We should stand there and like what we see; we should stand there with sincerity and confidence -without guilt or shame.

Charles Dickens started his famous novel “David Copperfield,” with the words:

WHETHER I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

It took me a while until I fully understood the meaning. In my 20’s and 30’s, I was busy pleasing other people. I wasn’t the hero of my life back then; I was too busy making other’s happy that I forgot my happiness. The judgment of others was important to me. I wanted to be loved; I wanted to be respected and liked.

Later on in life, I learned that other people do not define who I am. That’s when I started to believe in myself, kept my self-esteem high, loved and valued myself. I became my most critical and yet most compassionate appraiser.

There are still days when I have a hard time looking myself in the eye; I am not a saint, I have my moments. I have done -and will do things- that I am not proud of. But overall I hope I live my life the way I intended to. Today I hold this station.

We might be able to pretend and lie to others -and social media is a great tool to do so- but at the end of the day we can’t cheat the man in the glass.

 

glass 3

Glass

 

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12 thoughts on “Don’t Cheat the Man in the Glass?

  1. I love your unique take on these prompts. You take them in a direction that is different and thought provoking. Your words remind me of a book I read some time ago and essentially the message was that you can’t change other people, you can only change your own behaviours, reactions, and attitudes. It was – and still is – a powerful message.

  2. Wonderful, to thy self be true… They say you can’t cheat yourself, but we do cheat ourself, that is why we get irritated etc. Each time we are lazy or procrastinate we cheat ourself, each time we do wrong and turn a blind eye to it. We can still look in the mirror and not see the truth. Or we are one who see the truth, the flaws in our personality and we change. To be blind is a choice

  3. A powerful poem. I have much more time now to give to myself the perks I desire, but I do not regret one day of the time I had to give priority time to others. Mother, wife, teacher, Christian – all demand priorities over my “being me” time. On the other hand,those were the “being me” roles I was choosing to play. No regrets. Enjoy your stirring of my thoughts. Thank you.

    • I think there is a difference between “pleasing” and “giving.” I like to give, I love being a wife, a caretaker, a friend, an employer and a good neighbor. But during all of it I will never EVER forget to love and treasure myself. I hope that makes sense!.

      • Yes, as my conclusion after evaluating myself. I did love the role I played while giving to others. And, yes, there is a difference in “pleasing” and “giving” as you have used the terms. Sometimes pleasing others is not real; you have to fake it! No fun.

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