Vail Daily column: It’s your reflection, who do you see? |

Vail Daily column: It’s your reflection, who do you see?

Growing up near the beach, I spent lots of time at the local boardwalk. Memories of the arcades, rides, games, pizza, ice cream and candy apples still bring me back to a very special place and time in my life. And one of my favorite things to do was to watch myself and others pose in front of one of the carnival mirrors or funhouse mirrors.

You know the kind I am talking about, right? Those are the mirrors that distort the image of ourselves as we walk by. There are even apps we can get now that take distorting our images on our phones or devices to a new level. We look at our reflections and we may see ourselves as short or tall, fat or skinny, stretched or compressed. Sometimes we see our faces become distorted or twisted as we try to make a really funny face or scary face.

How do we see ourselves?

So what happens when it’s not a funhouse mirror or distorting mirror? What happens when we look at the reflection of ourselves through a regular mirror? Do we look with optimism as we believe we can see where we have shed a few pounds or where we are admiring our newest haircut? Or do we look at our reflection as if we were looking through a distorted view of ourselves and pick apart the things we don’t like about the way we look?

Seeing and improving

Some people can’t help themselves — they look at their reflection in any window, mirror or anything where their reflection can be seen. Anything that reflects our physical attributes in an accurate and undistorted way is great. It’s fantastic for the person who uses that reflection to continue to improve themselves through working out and dieting. It’s also wonderful for people who use that reflection to motivate themselves to start taking better care of themselves — even if it is a little bit at a time.

What mirrors have a hard time doing is reflecting the person who is standing in front of the mirror. And by person I mean the values and beliefs of the person. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a mirror that could reflect when we were living with love, integrity, kindness and forgiveness? And conversely, wouldn’t it be awesome if the mirror showed us a reflection of ourselves when we were jealous, angry, bitter, resentful and being a jerk?

What we see, who we are

Depending on our frames of mind and what we know about the way we are living, we could possibly see the good and positive traits as we look at our reflection. Knowing we have done something special in our lives or for someone else. And maybe we know, as we see ourselves in the mirror, that we are proud of our attitude and integrity. At other times, I think we are hoping we can find one of those funhouse mirrors or distorting mirrors. We don’t want to see who we really are and we will take any new images that the funhouse mirror will display when we are acting out in jealousy, anger, bitterness and resentfulness.

On the other hand

Here’s the good news. Funhouse mirrors and distorting mirrors are fun, but we do not need them to help us to see a different person, the people who we are on the inside. They may help us fake it for a while as we fool ourselves. But sooner or later the real person will become very evident again and we will show our true colors. The good news is that we are the ones in control of who we are.

If we see something or someone in the mirror that we are not pleased with, we have the ability to change who we are, what we are and where we are going. We can achieve this through working out, getting more in touch with our faith, reading positive books and success stories, giving up bad and old habits and we can also enlist the help of counselors, coaches, pastors and friends. The point is that we are in control.

When was the last time you really took a good hard look in the mirror? Are you happy and content or do you see changes that you would like to make, whether physically, personally or professionally? Either way, I would love to hear all about what you see in the mirror at And when we look past the funhouse and distorted mirrors to see who we are, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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