The Mirror

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought some version of “Eck… you again.”

I’ve lately had a hard time even bringing my eyes up to face themselves in the mirror, such “eck” I feel.  

The mirror can be a cruel, cruel place.

It’s a window into all of our insecurities and doubts and “truths” and “I’m not measuring up”s. It’s a glimpse at our “less than”s and “should be”s. It’s a glaring light shining on our “mistakes” and our “didn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t”s.

Oh, mirror.  Just go away.  Go away.  Please go away.

But then again, there’s this:

A few weeks ago I was talking at a conference in Orlando and I gave everyone glow sticks.  I talked about how it occurred to me that glow sticks have to be broken in order to glow…and how powerful that image was to me.  They shine because of their brokenness, not in spite of it.

So maybe all those things that make us squint in the reflection of the mirror? The things that make us want to turn away?   Maybe those are exactly the things that make us shine the brightest.

As I’ve quoted before, one of my favorite bits from Leonard Cohen is this reminder from his song “Anthem” (which, like most of his music, is best listened to with whiskey very late at night, I think): “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

That’s how the light gets in.

There are times when it’s really easy, and even exciting, to look in the mirror.  Those are the “Damn, Girl!” moments, and they are awesome, indeed.  Then there are times when the mirror is not even something we notice—it’s an afterthought, at best.  And then there are the “eck” times… the times we want to turn away.  

Let’s love our mirror, through all of them.

Let’s look up into the mirror, eye to eye. Let’s not look down, or away. And let’s remember that our broken bits are just as beautiful as all the rest. As my favorite band Mumford & Sons would remind us, “That’s exactly how this grace thing works.” 


How can you honor the light that shines through your mirror today?


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.