Looking in the Mirror

April BallesteroBy April Ballestero5 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Slaying the Onion: Unveil the Layers of Your Story to Reveal Your Highest Potential by April Ballestero

Chapter One
Looking in the Mirror

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
– Brene Brown


As I stood before a mirrored wall at ballroom dance class, my instructor caught me fidgeting with my blouse.

“Stop that,” he said. “The mirror does not lie.”

That simple truth showed me how difficult it is to hide our imperfections from others. Yet, we can’t fix what we don’t see or refuse to view or acknowledge, in ourselves.

Slaying the Onion is an intense process. Many of us don’t know how to look in the mirror, face our fears, and challenge ourselves to leave our comfort zones, whether they are healthy or unhealthy in nature. In effect, we have created our own jail cells in our personal and professional lives. We have built walls around our hearts that we believe provide protection. These walls impact our communications, relationships, and experiences.

Ogres, Onions, and Layers

In the animated film Shrek, the main character is a green ogre aptly named Shrek. During a conversation, he explains to his buddy Donkey (yes, a donkey) that ogres and onions are alike, because they both have layers (Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson, 2001).

Not every individual is as self-aware as Shrek, especially when misunderstood by others, as happened to this movie character. Not every person is willing to look at themselves in the mirror, because it’s not an easy task. Many people avoid it at all costs. I know. For years, I was trapped in that mentality. I was frightened, disappointed, and challenged by what I saw, so why bother looking?

Still, whether we acknowledge it or not, each of us is like an onion. Our heart, mind, and soul are our layers. And while most of us would agree onions can add flavor to an otherwise bland dish, we would also admit the process of removing the skin, then chopping and dicing, preparing to actually use them—can make us cry.

However, our authentic voice and the message locked inside our heart will never be heard unless we first examine our layers. Fortunately, we hold the key to releasing the light within us and being a light to others. We have the power to tear down the walls we’ve built and step out of our respective jail cells.

Unlocking the reasons justifying why you made those walls so thick will take time and energy. Uncovering the messages hiding within your prison will take effort. There might be times you think you’ve slain a particular onion layer, only to be surprised by the discovery of another layer hiding underneath. Be prepared to give yourself grace and take breaks from the process if you need to.

This book is meant to be taken as a whole—pun intended. Each concept connects with the others. The temptation is to read until we get uncomfortable then stop, or decide I don’t need this and set the book aside, or simply not complete the exercises. Resist that temptation.

Most non-fiction books operate on a list or step-by-step approach. Think of what you are about to learn here as more of a tapestry. Each strand meets, interweaves, affects, and is affected by all the others. Consequently, in each chapter, we will provide both a macro and a micro approach.

When those in leadership, management, or their employees grasp these methods and implement them, when they recognize the opportunities to see, hear, and value another person from these perspectives, positive outcomes happen. The company benefits, the employee benefits, and the company’s clients benefit. It’s a win-win-win. The same holds true for families, couples, and individuals. Freedom facilitates freedom.

Order your copy of Slaying the Onion: Unveil the Layers of Your Story to Reveal Your Highest Potential by April Ballestero