A Christian Science perspective: Maybe the mirror isn't showing us who we really are. Maybe we need to be looking into a different mirror.
A popular TV show, “What Not to Wear,” is designed to help women choose flattering and appropriate clothes. On a recent show, a woman who considered herself overweight couldn’t find clothes that looked good on her. One of the hosts remarked that when you try on clothes and then look in the mirror and the clothes don’t look good, it’s not you – it’s the clothes. They’re the wrong size or the wrong style. (Don’t beat up on yourself.) The premise of the show is that every woman, making the right choices, can be well dressed, look good, and feel good.
The show is so popular because most women want to look pleasing and attractive. And so there’s a lot of checking the mirror during the day. Too often the assessment is too fat or too this or too that. And that evaluation leads to unhappiness.
But maybe that mirror isn’t showing us who we really are. Maybe there’s a different reality. Maybe we need to be looking into a different mirror.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, used the analogy of the mirror to illustrate how we are each the image, or reflection, of God. She wrote, “As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 516). This idea is found in the first chapter of the Bible, in Genesis, where it is recorded, “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26). And God concludes His creating by evaluating everything as “very good.”
God is Spirit, so the man and woman of God’s creating are spiritual, good, as God is good. To know who we really are, we need to know what God is; to know ourselves, we need to look in the “mirror” of what God is expressing as Himself.
There aren’t really any mirrors to see our spiritual identity, but the concept of mirroring can be helpful. A mirrored reflection is like the one in front of the mirror. And so our spiritual identity is like our source, God, Spirit. We have by reflection all the qualities, the substances, the actions that constitute a likeness of God.
So to know God is to know ourselves. The Bible includes many descriptions of God. It says God is love, all good, wise, merciful, strong, glorious, pure, beautiful ... There’s an almost endless list of wonderful attributes describing God, and as we are actually made in God’s likeness, each one must also describe us.
For example, God is described as perfect. To be perfect is to be complete, having all that is required, without defect. Because we reflect the perfect God, we are in reality perfect, spiritually complete, and flawless.
Thinking about ourselves in this way may seem quite a stretch, because so much in our lives argues that we are in some way flawed. But if we’re looking at ourselves in terms of what God is imaging forth, there is no other possible identity for us. So we really can move beyond a wrong sense of who we are.
Speaking of our spiritual identity as the reflection of God, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “[W]hen we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere” (Science and Health, p. 516).
Trusting that what the Bible says about us is fact, and then looking at ourselves in that way, it becomes natural to start thinking differently about ourselves. Then we can actually see ourselves in a new way. The result is a calm self-confidence that is always very attractive.
Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.