We all have habits. We all have little quirks that make us who we are for better or for worse. Some habits are performed occasionally, others every day, and others we perform so often that they define who we are. Anyone who knows me well is aware of my habits. For example, they would know that I bit my nails until eleventh grade, and I write every detail of my day in my planner. However, I have never told anyone about one of my most peculiar, yet relevant habits. I habitually look into my mirror every morning.
You’re probably thinking, “Madeline, everyone looks in the mirror every morning. What’s so special about you looking in your mirror?” To clear the air, I’m not talking about looking in the mirror to fix my hair or brush my teeth. I don't gawk at myself for hours out of vanity. I look in my mirror for a very specific reason immediately before I start my day.
When I’m completely ready to leave my dorm, whether it be for class, rehearsal, going out, or otherwise, I’m about to open the door to leave when I pause to look over my shoulder. My full-length mirror hanging from the bathroom door has caught my eye, and I let my front door close so I can turn around and see myself one last time before I let the world see me today. I study my outfit, my posture, my facial expression, everything that someone would notice about me. I scrutinize my reflection as I ask myself the same questions every morning. “Is this who I am?” “Is this who I want to be?” “Is this the version of myself that I want the world to see today?” I ask these questions regarding not only my physical appearance, but also my attitude. If I need to make some minor adjustments I do so, then I leave my dorm ready to face the world.
I don’t remember the origins of this habit, but I have memories of looking at my reflection in a heart-shaped mirror and asking myself those questions when I was at least ten. Paradoxically, this practice has made me more conscientious of how I want others to perceive me as well as more confident in myself. I care a lot about my reputation, so reflecting on my appearance and attitude helps me stay aware of how I present myself every day. On the other hand, I've learned not to be afraid of expressing myself by making sure the way I look and behave correlates with who I want to be.
The next time you take a look in your mirror, ask yourself if you see the person you want to be. Ask yourself if you see the person you want everyone else to see. Whether you're learning how to be yourself or if you want the world to see you in a better light, take a moment to reflect on your reflection.