One of my favourite poems is “The Guy in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow. It was once recited to me by an old friend at 5 AM in the morning, a day I remember I felt really low and unhappy. Realizing what the poem stood for, I have recited it everyday to remind myself that even when people may constantly judge you for who you are and what you’ve done, it is your own self-perception that matters the most in the end. This poem is also known as “The Man in the Mirror”.
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
– Dale Wimbrow, The Guy in the Glass