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When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Is it the person you want to see? The person you’d like to be? For me, the gap between what I see and who I would like to be is vast. Sometimes it feels ever-widening. I’m not just talking about surface stuff, although I can go on about that for hours (and have). I’m talking about the real stuff, the inside stuff. Wait, you think, you can’t see that stuff in the mirror. Oh, can’t you?

When we look in the mirror, the image we “see” is not reality. By the time the message of our reflection moves from our eyes, through our brains and back it’s been altered by our perception. Perceived reality is not reality, but a skewed version thereof. There are extreme examples of this. Body Dysmorphic Disorder causes people who are normal or even far too thin to believe they are fat, or worse. But even among the lesser extremes, the truth is still clouded by our perception. How we feel about ourselves colors the images we see. We believe sight to be infallible, but it isn’t.

I have a long list of ways in which I am not happy with my insides. I am selfish, I am immature. My insecurity gets in my way often, and by extension impacts the people I love as well. When I am feeling insecure I often fall into the pit of self-absorption. Some people may suffer through their insecurity in silence, but not me. Mine causes me to constantly seek reassurance. I’m needy. When I’m in this mode, it’s tough for me to see the world beyond my own immediate concerns. Delightful. When I’m not stuck in that pit, I squirm in discomfort when I recognize these kinds of behavior in myself. I try to avoid the pit, to go around it the next time. It’s tough. Sometimes I see the pit but am so focused on it I trip and land there once more, face-first in the muck at the bottom.

And on “Sesame Street” today, the Word on the Street is “jealous.” Ah, “Sesame Street,” somehow you always know where I’m at. On my list of character defects, jealousy ranks way up there. There are particular areas that trigger me, and one is messing with me today. Details? Not happening here. Suffice to say you can be aware that jealousy is tying you in knots, making you behave like less than the person you want to be, and feel powerless to stop it. And on “Sesame Street,” Gordon tells Telly Monster that jealousy is a “normal, human emotion.” Thanks, Gordon. Good to know. I think Telly is supposed to be about six, though. So there’s that. Gordon goes on to say, “Jealousy is when someone else has something you want, something you wish you had.” True enough. He goes on to suggest that Telly put his hands on his stomach and tell himself to stop, while breathing in through his nose, and out through his mouth. Tried it. Not cutting it. Perhaps I am not breathing deeply enough.

Again, not happy with my insides. I am tired of being a work in progress. I want some victories, here. Sometimes I think I’ve gotten better in a certain area, if not over something entirely than at least past it. Then something happens to make me realize I need more work. So much more. Damn.

Thought for the day: I need to spend more time developing the relationships I do have than angsting over what’s missing, or what I perceive to be missing. Focus on what matters.

I am trying.