Today’s daily post prompt is titled, Mirror, Mirror:
Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?
Whew! This is such a universal topic, but one that’s come up for me often lately. As a person who lost a significant amount of weight, loves to exercise and pursue fitness, and loves the idea of helping others to do the same, this hits home.
What we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror is so often completely contrary to what others see when they look at us. The perfect example of this in action is the Dove Beauty Campaign ads:
Going further, the stories and labels we tell ourselves about ourselves can be hard to let go when things change.
“I’m the fat friend”
“I’m the strong one”
“The one everyone relies on”
If you’ve been overweight, then lost it, our minds play tricks on us because we still see the larger person when we look in the mirror, in a sort of reverse body dysmorphia. It’s as if our minds hang on to the physical picture of what our mental storytelling says we are. Aside from weight, it hits other areas, too – for me it’s acne scars (that no one sees but me), it’s weight, it can be about my hair – all kinds of things. And what happens if we let go of that story? If I’m not “the person who lost weight”, then who am I?
My very enlightened husband put it this way: When we look in the mirror – we look at all the pieces individually and pick them apart. When people who love us look at us – they see the whole. If we break down our appearance, traits, and personalities into little pieces to scrutinize, of course we will find faults and flaws. But when we look at the bigger picture – the whole, we get started on seeing ourselves the way others do.
I won’t pretend to convey that I have it all figured out (not by a long shot!) but giving ourselves grace to begin to change the negative stories we tell ourselves over and over and begin to see ourselves the way others see us is a worthy, and dare I say necessary, endeavor.
Who do YOU see when you look your reflection?
4 thoughts on “Who do YOU see?”
Ahhh, beautiful post, beautiful lady!
At one time, my thoughts about myself were echoed in your words. I saw an overweight-unhealthy-approaching-middle-age-pale-skinned, redhead in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. At some point though, long before I began my weight-loss journey, my self-perception had changed. I had examined my life from top to bottom, let go of all my shame and guilt, and had accepted myself for who I was, overweight or not. It was after that, that I lost the weight.
Because I had worked on my mental health beforehand, I don’t see anything different in the mirror now then I did two years ago. It’s only when I look at pictures from the past that I see the chunky girl that I was! And yes, I cringe! And quite honestly, sometimes, I get down on myself for letting my weight get so out of control. I get over it pretty quickly though, and have learned to give myself “grace,” like you so eloquently said.. I have learned to see the “big picture” and not dwell on the little things (the 40’s bring a whole host of other little things, wrinkles and grey hair, hello!), Well, at least not all of the time. 🙂
Your words here are thoughtful, insightful, and very wise. Thank you for daring to share your courageous and beautiful heart. ❤ you!
And P.S.- Great words of wisdom Uncle Eric!
Yes! He is wise – But shhh! Don’t tell him I said so! ;D
I think you hit the nail on the head – you have to do the internal mental-emotional work first, then the weight comes off. Fitness is wonderful (life changing for me!) but recognizing the “why” of how we became unfit in the first place is really the key. It’s symptomatic. Pursuing athleticism is great, but its only treating the symptom if the other side isn’t addressed.
And we’ll just not talk about the grey hair/wrinkles/40s thing. That’s what hair dye and highlights are for! 😉 But for the record – I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for nothing! *shudder* I’ll take wisdom and strength over insecurity and youth ANYDAY!
XOXO Love you too!
Heck yes to that! I wouldn’t want to go back to my 20’s (or now 30’s) again either. Despite the gray hair and wrinkles of the 40’s, what I know now compared to then is volumes, and I wouldn’t trade it, ever!