The girl looked at her reflection in the mirror. She was happy with what she saw. Her hair was shiny. Her skin was smooth. And her smile was bright. She was happy, that is, until she turned the mirror to the magnified side. There she saw only the ragged split ends of her hair, cavernous pores upon her face and crooked yellow teeth. In a split second her pleasure changed to depression. Seeing herself magnified up-close, this beautiful girl couldn’t imagine anyone seeing her as anything but grotesque.
The girl’s story seems extreme, yet, much of the stress we feel in life is caused by a similar distorted outlook. We completely lose sight of the big picture as we narrow our attention on the perceived defects in or around us. A co-worker not responding when we greet them in the hall becomes confirmation that no one likes us. A car cutting us off in traffic becomes disrespect warranting rage. An unexpected visit from a friend becomes an evaluation of our self-worth based on the cleanness level of our home.