A number of years ago, one of my friends was suffering from some health problems, and I would often drop by to help her with housework. On one particular day, I was cleaning her bathroom and ran into some trouble with the mirror. No matter how I tried to clean the glass, it remained hazy and blurry. At the time, I had poor vision, and I attributed the foggy mirror to that. However, on closer inspection, I found that my eyes were not at fault. I couldn’t figure out the problem. I was using the bottle marked as glass cleaner, but I couldn’t clean the glass. I was baffled.
Embarrassed by my failure to get the simple job done, I reported the trouble to my friend and apologized that her mirror still was not clean. It turned out that her husband had filled a bottle marked as glass cleaner with bleach. I was coating the glass with a layer of white film as I sprayed the bleach, and no amount of buffing cleared the foggy mirror.
I have thought a lot about that experience, and about my blurred image in that mirror. I wonder if, when we evaluate ourselves, we might not be seeing a clear image. What we may see and believe to be reality might actually be a distortion or stark untruth.
When you consider who you are, who do you see? What words do you use to describe yourself? Do you like who you are? Do you view yourself as having talents and gifts, or are you constantly criticizing or finding fault with yourself? It is so easy to fixate on the negative traits we possess and minimize or discount the good.
But constantly chiseling away at ourselves with criticism and negative talk does not bring happiness. Worse—it plays perfectly into Satan’s plan for our misery. He would have us view ourselves as worthless, no good. This is not from Christ; therefore, it is darkness, and it will contribute to our spiritual blindness, for “that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness” (D&C 50:23).
Instead of seeing a glorious spirit child of the Almighty God, when Satan fogs the glass, we soon believe his distortions.
Perhaps we mistakenly believe that we are being humble and that focusing on what is imperfect is a way to avoid pride. However, tearing ourselves down and looking for fault where there is really good is not humility. We would be much happier, and have more light in our lives, if we could break this damaging habit.