On those days when I feel older than dirt, I recall the haunting refrain from that radio show, “The Shadow,” here and gone before I was born: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

This selfie of me and my shadow made me wonder, not what lurks within because that’s a negative term, but what “perks” within me … the extras that make me dictionary ready, “more cheerful, lively, or interesting.”

Some days, I don’t have the answer because I’m too tired or impatient to see beyond the exterior … even though no one knows the interior better than me. Well, there is God … who occasionally knocks on my noggin and says, “Yoo hoo, I know you’re in there somewhere! You can’t hide from me!”

I’ve discovered that mirrors just don’t cut it for seeing the real person inside any of us. As I engage with more people, “the eyes are the window to the soul” cliché is more true by the day. While it’s been hard to have as many eye-to-eye engagements in the last year or two, I’ve discovered that we hold the handle to the best mirror for everyone we meet.

The old yuletide classic, “Do you hear what I hear?” might be adapted to “Do you see what I see … within you?” Do you not see the warmth that is inviting? Do you not see the courage that reinforces your soul? Do you not see the knowledge you possess? Do you not see the fear that makes you human?

Do you not see the wealth of life experience within every breath you take? Do you not see the value of YOU and the gift that you are to so many?

Why do we believe more what bad things people say about us … than the good? Why do we blush or fumble for words when someone compliments us … or put up the shield of “No, not me. I’m not good at that. I didn’t do anything special.”

I know life sucks at times, but what if we vacuumed up all the kind words and expressions people offer us and rolled around in those for a while … to reinforce what truly shines within us … rather than brush away kind words and deeds sprinkled our way.

I think back over hundreds of conversations with caregivers through the years, and how startled many of them were when I looked them in the eyes and said, “You’re an amazing person” or “You are worthy” or “Your life is just as important as the one you’re caring for” or even “I love YOU.”

Or survivors when I’ve reminded them, “You survived for a reason” or “You have so much more to give and share” or “You’ve made progress and you know I’m not lying to you” or even “I love YOU.”

Hold that mirror for someone today … and pay attention for those moments when they’re holding it for you … as you give your one-of-a-kind perks to the world … We’re waiting …

Hey, drop me a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below. I’d love to speak to your group, organization or company about orking our way through the pain and challenges of everyday life. You want straight talk? You got me!