Have you ever looked into the mirror and thought negative thoughts about yourself?
“Look at that double chin!”
“My skin is always so sallow.”
“I can never do anything with my hair!”
“Great! I’m 35 and I still have teenage acne!”
“Why can’t I lose that muffin?”
“My arms are huge!”
Whether it’s our hair, our skin, our physical features or our body, it seems when we look at a mirror we never see good things–only the bad. Is that mirror’s fault? Or our way of looking at ourselves?
There isn’t anyone who has perfect anything. We all know the stories of photoshopped models. But somehow, in our minds, we are still not “perfect” enough or “good” enough in some area. The problem isn’t that we have imperfections–because we all do. The problem is we let those grow to such huge proportions that we can’t see the things that are good and beautiful about ourselves!
I’ve often asked, “Would you tell that to your very best friend? Would you constantly point out how her hair has no body, or her eyebrows fade into her face, or her eyelashes aren’t long enough or… or… or…”? Of course you wouldn’t!
Yet….we think nothing of doing it to ourselves.
I’ve spent more time than I care to admit scrutinizing some part of myself in a mirror, as if that mirror could show all that I am. As if all that sums me up is in the reflection of a piece of glass backed by silver.
Is that the real me?
No more than a posed, made up, perfectly-dressed-to-suit-her-body model who is then photoshopped to further look perfect is really her. Do you know what she is passionate about just because you see her picture? Do you know what kind of food she adores? Do you know how she feels about her family? Can you really get to know someone just by looking at their picture?
Of course not!
Yet every day, some of us stand in front of a mirror and think the world can judge us and assume what we are like by what we see in that mirror and how it measures up to images–images of people we don’t even know. Sometimes it’s a totally unreal montage of images we put together in our minds of THE consummate super-beautiful woman.
Who doesn’t even exist.
I think it’s time we put that monster to rest and quit comparing ourselves outwardly to a standard of perfection that even the most beautiful women can’t live up to!
Perhaps there are things you are working on outwardly, such as losing inches/weight, taking better care of your skin, or styling your hair differently. Instead of coming to the mirror for another session of “let’s-see-if I-can-find-all-my-faults”, what if we came looking for improvements? What if we looked for the good in ourselves just as we try to look for in other people?
Do you know that if you are constantly putting yourself down in any area, you will be insecure and unable to fully relate to people, especially those you perceive as “having it all together”? A negative self-image will rob you of precious relationships and what you could learn from others because you are on the defensive, wondering if they are noticing that new crop of pimples that popped up, or that your hair was not behaving that morning, or that your dress seems to fit less attractively than you’d like.
Years ago, when I was a young teen-aged girl, I had a horrible problem with acne. I was very self-conscious about it, and when all the “conventional wisdom” of the day didn’t work, it was disheartening to have such bad skin when many of my friends didn’t seem to have this problem. One day it occurred to me that if I stayed focused on it, others would, too. So I tried an experiment. I decided to be more outgoing and focused on other things than what my face looked like, hoping that others would not notice so much.
Interesting thing for a 15 or so old girl to come up with!
Did it work?
I clearly remember one time saying something about my acne to a friend, and she said, “Oh, I guess I really didn’t notice.”
What if you quit being your own worst enemy, and decided to focus on others, focus on your strengths, focus on being your best in spite of imperfections, focus on how far you’ve come in the journey instead of where you still have to go?
Perhaps, like me at 15, you may find that you feel better about yourself, that you feel better about others, and that you will become FREE from the shackles that only serve to make you miserable and keep you from all you can be!
There is more to you than what is seen on the outside. But what goes on inside affects the outside. A warm, genuine “I’m interested in you” smile and caring attitude will leave a better impression than a “I wonder what they’re thinking about me” or “I wonder if they notice my nose is crooked” attitude.
One way is focusing on yourself, trying to get affirmation and acceptance from others based on how you look.
The other way is focusing on others and how you can benefit them by your gifts, receiving affirmation and acceptance by giving it away.
Focusing on your weaknesses and imperfections creates a barrier to giving–it dams up the flow.
Focusing on what is good about yourself frees up that flow and helps you to help others.
So, let’s change that to:
“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall–I’ve Lots of Good Things I Can Share with Them All!”