Body Acceptance, Body Image, Eating Disorder, God, Recovery

Mirror, Mirror

Mirrors are liars.  They tell us what we expect to see.
-Susanna Fraser

******

Too many times I have looked in the mirror once and thought, “Wow, I look great!” Only to turn around not even five minutes later and think, “Crap.  I look like I just gained 10 pounds.”  How is that even possible?
It is simple: my mind, the mirror, and my eyes play tricks to create my perception of myself.

My Mind: The mind is powerful; dependent upon how we use it.  All too often I use my mind in its negative capacity instead of for the good of myself and others.  Prior to looking in the mirror I am already experiencing some sort of feeling, positive or negative, that will greatly impact how I view myself once I step in front of my bathroom mirror.  When I get dressed for the day or to go out on a date with my husband, I am telling myself I am confident, attractive, and on top of the world.  I’m not even thirty and I have accomplished much and been many places.  I am loved. I am beautiful.  I am a child of God and I am bringing up my daughter to know His love.  Even typing that now makes me sit a little taller in my (not so comfy) desk chair.  What I say to myself has the power to increase my confidence or break me down.  Once I see myself in the outfit I have chosen I usually step away to do something else, coming back to double check my appearance before leaving.  By the time I return to the mirror, which I realize I really need to NOT do as it is incredibly vain, doubtful thoughts have crept in and my perception changes. Whether I am consciously thinking the negative thoughts or not, they are there.  “Maybe this outfit doesn’t flatter my body.  Maybe I should change.  I will just go double check.”  For my mind, double checking spells doom for my mood and mindset.  Instead of feeling like the confident, successful, beautiful mother and wife I am, I find myself feeling frumpy, unhappy, and disgusted.   My mind plays tricks and I bet yours does too.

The Mirror: By definition a mirror is “a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image.”  I am inclined to say I disagree with this definition.  While the mirror may truly be glass coated with some metal something-rather, the image is anything but clear.  The image is clouded by our judgements of ourselves.  It is merely a reflection of what we want to see, or what we think we see, and our mind makes the image unclear.  We do not accurately see ourselves because we are simply looking at a reflection; a trick made of glass and thoughts.  One lesson I am learning, over and over again, is to trust those around me.  I am learning to trust my husband when he says I am beautiful and I don’t see myself has he does, or as God does.  I am learning to trust my friend when she says I am beautiful because I care for others, I show love to people in my path, and I am an inspiration.  The mirror doesn’t reflect any of those things.  The mirror only reflects the outward appearance upon which my own harsh judgements and the judgements of those who do not know me are reflected.  

My Eyes: I always used to say my eyes were my best feature when asked what I liked best about myself.  However, I don’t find that to be true anymore.  While I still love their sapphire blue color, they are not the best part of me.  My eyes don’t speak to who I am as a person and they are part of what plays tricks on me. Lets review how the eye allows us to see things:

The Eye

How can something that takes a real-life object and turns it upside down in a normal setting show us anything close to reality when it is looking at an image on a metal coated piece of glass?  Simply put: I don’t think it can.  Now, I obviously do not have scientific proof of this but I believe it to be true.  While our eyes are amazing and they allow us to see the world around us, when it comes to seeing ourselves they aren’t much help.  We either have to look at the mirror or a photo, which still is not an accurate view of ourselves.  Our eyes play tricks. They work in conjunction with our preconceived thoughts and judgements to show us what we think we see.

I would like you to really listen to the song on this post.  My favorite lines are repeated over and over throughout it:

“Hey you in the mirror, I like you!”
“I’m feelin’ mehself!”
“Nobody don’t have to love me because I LOVE ME!”

I am the culprit of my own mood, good or bad, and as long as I stand in front of the mirror (as much I am trying to decrease that practice) and tell myself I am sexy, special, and love myself my mood is likely to be good….along with my confidence. 

With Body Love,
Lane

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