Dare to look – Self-Esteem and Mirrors

Loving the ADHD devil – DAY 17

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror? Not just at the clothes you’re wearing, the part of your face you’re about to enhance with some make-up or the pimple you’re about to squeeze. I’m talking about truly facing yourself, in the way you might look at other people or how other people might look at you. I for sure never did, and with me many other people in this world remain unable to notice their true self in their reflection.

Mirrors are everywhere, however, in everyday life many people tend to avoid looking at themselves for more than a quick glance. Mirrors activate the critical thought we have about our appearance, they make us compare our physical image with ideals and standards and too often mirrors make us focus on the parts of ourselves we are not satisfied with. When we look in a mirror, we often pick out the pieces we dislike and our dissatisfaction with ourselves grows with every glimpse of our reflection.

In a way, every mirror we use to observe ourselves, is like a fun-house mirror. We don’t just see our own reflection on a surface, our mind distorts the image we see in a mirror due to the perception we have of ourselves. If you truly believe you are beautiful, you will always see a stunning person, but when you’re unkind, critical or judgementall towards yourself, you’ll see an image that’s filled with shortcomings, no matter how beautiful you are.

A mirror doesn’t just reflect an image of who we are, it shows us who we believe we are. Some time ago, I watched a movie that explains the effect of self-esteem on how we see ourselves. The movie is called “I feel pretty” and is about a woman trapped in an unsatisfying life thinking she is not beautiful enough to deserve something better. One day, she falls on her head, and when she wakes up and looks in the mirror, she discovers she has become beautiful. The truth is that she actually looks the same as she did before, but because she perceives herself differently she gets the courage to change her life and do the things she always wanted to do.

The movie is not great (5.5/10 on IMDB), however, the story is completely true. We are too hard on ourselves, we only tend to see our shortcomings or even ugliness when we look at ourselves but these things really only exists in our own imagination. We not only see the distorted image, we truly believe this image, we believe that the image we see is what other people see when they look at us and because of this we’re holding back on doing the things we truly want.

I have an obsession with my body, mostly with the curviness of it. I always believe I am fat, every time I see myself in the mirror. Last January I decreased my body-fat to 17%, for a woman, for me, this meant that my belly showed abs and my ribs where countable. But what did I see? This little patch of fat at the bottom of my belly. No matter how many time I was told I was too skinny, no matter what the numbers of my body-scan showed, I saw fat, so I was fat. Multiple times a day I undressed myself in front of a mirror to remind myself of my fatness and every day I increased the time I spend in the gym.

Mirrors are mean, or humans are mean in from of them. We are able to see the good in the people around us, however, when we look at ourselves, we only see the bad. But is it really possible that there is only good in your friends? Don’t you think your friends will also see good in you? Everyone has his or her own personal qualities, differences that make you the unique and great person you are. These are the things that other people see when they look at you, and you are allowed to see them to!

It doesn’t matter what size of clothes you wear, what your hair looks like or how many wrinkles are starting to appear. Your physical image will keep changing your whole life and the shortcoming in this imago are not a representation of who you truly are. You deserve to see yourself as a whole, the complete image of yourself, including your qualities as well as your differences. The negative image you see in the mirror only exists within yourself and once you are able to let go of the focus on your shortcomings, you’ll see the real you, the one that other people see, the beautiful person that’s worthy of love and happiness.

I am practicing with they way I see my own reflection for a while now. Every morning I choose a compliment for myself, something like “you’re so smart” or “you’re so sweet” or sometimes even something simple like “you’re so great at taking care of your plants”. Whenever I look in the mirror and notice how I start to focus on a part I don’t like about myself, I look myself in the eyes, give myself the compliment I choose for that day and this is when the magic happens.

My compliment makes my shortcomings disappear immediately. I no longer see a part of myself in the reflection but I see a person, a complete person. I notice how my reflection becomes more than an imago and I meet a beautiful version of myself. I see a girl that has so many amazing qualities, a girl I believe deserves so much good in her life, a girl I would do everything for to make her happy.

Once I am able to let go of my perception of me, once I stop looking at the bad parts and when I’m able to see the whole me, I feel so much love for the person I am. I can only encourage everyone to try to do the same. You deserve to see yourself without any judgement or unkindness, because these are really just a fake filters that distort your reality. You deserve love and you are beautiful, no matter what you look like!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.