I am lucky to keep daily company with a small feathery mentor who always sees “maximum prettiness” when he looks in the mirror! With his help, hopefully one day I can see the same in my own reflected image.

Not too long ago, I looked in the mirror and noticed something strange.

I looked prettier.

In particular, I caught myself admiring my high cheekbones and symmetrical brows (a feat I once thought impossible to achieve until some good-hearted soul introduced me to “tweezers”).

“Hmmmm,” I thought. “It must be my new fitness regimen. Or maybe it is all that Vitamin D from playing with the shells outside. Or perhaps it could be that new skin cream.”

But in fact, none of these things are all that new to my life, and certainly no one of the three could account for either high cheekbones or perfectly arched brows!

What has been new – newer, anyway – is a renewed focus on learning to love myself and others. I find non-human beings (certain ones with feathers and shells in particular) quite easy to love. of my own species, the pickings get somewhat slimmer. And myself….well, every day is a fresh, new opportunity to learn in that department.

But I am making some progress.

To do this, I’ve been studying self-hypnosis as well as practicing my meditation skills. I’ve been more careful about what I read online and watch on television, and I’ve tried to give myself more of a break when I notice I’m struggling to master a new lesson.

In other words, I’ve been working on my “inside prettiness.” I’ve been working hard to be a person I really want to be, someone I’d like to know if I wasn’t already me, someone who would make a good family member, partner and friend.

I’ve also begun to crack down on certain long-standing judgments and prejudices that seem designed to keep me feeling separate and apart from others of my same species.

These judgments and prejudices aren’t always directed at others, by the way. Equally as often, they are directed at me (such as assuming because I’ve not yet been married and have no kids, people who have both experiences in their life and are “real adults” wouldn’t be interested in being my friend). But sometimes they are directed at others, and those hurt me just as much as the ones I lob at myself.

So I’ve been trying to catch them in the act and send them packing before they can do their usual damage. And I think I’ve been making a bit of headway there as well.

At least, I have to assume some level of self-evolution is underway, because even using the words “me” and “pretty” in the same sentence is still a relatively rare occurrence. But I used the words “me” and “prettier”….and that is unprecedented, to put it mildly.

Do I think I’m pretty? Here, I’m slowly realizing there are two ways to look at this. One way is to look at myself from the outside in, and the answer to that question tends to be about as reliable as trying to predict the weather patterns in advance.

The other way, however, is to look at myself from the inside out, and I’m discovering that way delivers much more reliable – and happy – results.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you had any experiences with seeing your own reflection in the mirror and suddenly seeing a new and improved you staring back at you? If so, what do you think caused your shift in perspective? Can you trace it back to any decisions or choices you made or any interactions with others important to you in some way? Do you feel like you mostly like what you see in the mirror today, and if yes, why? I’d love to hear your experiences!

P.S. This post is from my free monthly e-zine, “Good News for Recovery + Life.” Read the full edition HERE!