Some days it’s hard to look in the mirror.
Actually for me it’s more like most days.
Since I don’t weigh or measure myself, the mirror tends to be one of the few things I base my body image on. And I’m coming to realize it’s really not the most reliable of sources.
It’s amazing how from one day to the next what I see is vastly different. On some days I’ll see a fairly attractive, albeit somewhat underweight girl. Although those days are few and far between. Usually it swings between two extremes. One day I’ll see a sickeningly thin, ugly girl – a frail shadow of what she once was. On other days I’ll see a disproportionate figure, with weight in all the wrong places. But no matter which one of these extremes it is, I end up leaving feeling discouraged about myself, unhappy and insecure.
The truth of the matter is that often times what we see in the mirror is actually subjected to our moods. If I’m having a good day – if someone paid me a compliment or I accomplished something really important – I’ll look in the mirror and see the “pretty” me. On days I feel dissatisfied with myself, I make a mistake or mess up, on days where others are unkind towards me I see the “ugly me”. I usually see the “sickening thin” version of myself when others treat me unkindly or hurt me. I see the “fat” me when I’m feeling unhappy about myself or I don’t live up to my own expectations.
What I’m coming to realize more and more is that I need to stop basing my self-worth and body image on what I see in the mirror. Am I at a 100% healthy weight yet? Probably not. But I am getting there. So beating myself up about being too thin won’t encourage me along in that effort. More often than not it makes me feel like there’s no point in even trying, and I might as well quit. Then on the other hand the disproportionate, “fat ” person I see in the mirror isn’t exactly an accurate image either.
Some days I need to avoid the mirror all together, because it’ll only drag me down further then I am already. But I need to practice seeing the good side of myself as well. There’s always something I like about myself – even if it’s something as “insignificant” as my eyes, or my smile, or my straight teeth. From now on whenever I’m having a “lying mirror” day I am going to practice finding something I do like about myself and focusing on that. Hopefully by doing so I will gain a better perspective on who I really am and what positive qualities I do posses, as opposed to focusing on the image that is dictated primarily by my emotions.
Now over to you:
Have you ever had the “lying mirror” experience?
Is what you see in a mirror dictated by your emotions?
How do you counter those negative thoughts?