This guest post is from Leslie Escoto, originally posted on A Woman's Journey on Facebook. 

Most of us see ourselves entirely different than do others. Some have an inflated vision of who they are, while others focus on what's wrong with ourselves, picking out every tiny flaw and blowing it completely out of proportion. I am guilty of the later to the extreme.

It doesn't get any easier as I age... When I look in the mirror I see someone who, quite frankly, I don't recognize any more. Each wrinkle, every little gray hair, all the bulges in the wrong places seem to be lit up by a spotlight.

I strive to be more self-accepting, to love who I am now... not mourn who I used to be. It's funny but in the past I was just as critical of myself, but now I wish I was still that woman.

I wrote this little poem several years ago that expresses this conundrum, this right of passage.

The painting just flowed from my brush, depicting what I usually see when I look in the mirror.

I hope to one day be completely comfortable in being who I am, ditch the self-doubt and begin to really love myself on my own version of A Woman's Journey.

Who is this woman,
In the mirror, I see?
She seems so familiar
Looking straight back at me.

To her gaze I’m acquainted
Her features in the right place,
I feel I should know her,
But I can’t remember the face.

Her eyes, so intense,
A rich golden brown
But somehow they look
Back at me and just frown.

The skin is quite creamy
Yet ravaged by time
Pink cheeks and full lips
Uncanny, but mine

By counting the lines
And following the path,
I seem to get closer
So I must do the math

Let’s see, turn my head
And then whip it around
But there she still waits
I’m coming unwound

Who is she, this lady
This woman of age?
I’m frightened of what waits
What damage she will wage

I turn off the light
I stand in the dark
But still her faint shadow
Creates a big question mark

And then of a sudden
I realize her schtick
She’s not a mere stranger
And she’s not playing a trick

It’s me, how I am
At this point on my journey
A middle aged woman
Playing life’s championship tourney

I must say goodbye
To my being the belle
My youth now is history
But I remember it well

My path now is clear
I must love who I am
I’ve weathered the storms
Instead of Miss now I’m M’am

But it’s perfectly right
It’s as it should be
The lovely woman in the mirror
I’m happy to be.

I will continue my quest
To become my true self
To never give up
And put myself on the shelf

Painting by Leslie Escoto, featured in the book 52 Prescriptions for Happiness.

Thank you, Leslie, for your self-insight, which has taught us both so much! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love