[Read the transcript below]
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
How much time do you spend in front of the mirror? And when you do look, what is it that you’re looking for?
Now, most of us fall into one of three groups – those of us who spend a bit of time, those of us who spend too much time and those of us who refuse to look at ourselves altogether.
Now, this first group, you’re the happy people. You’re the ones that tend to use mirrors a bit more functionally, usually in the morning. You’ll spend a little bit of time putting on your makeup, or doing your hair and then it’s really a question of “is there anything wildly out of place”? “Do I have anything in my teeth”?
And if the answer’s no, then you’re on your way.
And then there’s the second group of you, those of you who spend a lot of time gazing at yourself in the mirror. And when you do look, you tend to pick out every perceived flaw and magnify it. And you don’t tend to even focus on what it is that you see but more internally on how terribly that you feel about yourself.
Not only that, you tend to treat your body the way a butcher treats a piece of meat. So, you’re no longer an entire person but you become a thigh, or a breast, or a belly.
Now, the third group of you, you refuse to look at yourselves all together. You don’t like the way you look and you think you can reduce any feelings of inadequacy or feeling badly by not looking at all.
Now, it comes as no surprise that being in the second or the third group, the over users and the avoiders, may indicate that you have an issue with the way that you look, that you have a low self-esteem or difficulties with body image.
But what may come as a surprise to you is that there’s a simple but powerful way to help improve your body image.
And that is simply by changing the way that you use mirrors.
First of all, do use a mirror. Don’t avoid them all together. And when you do use them, make sure you stand far enough back so that you can see your entire body. You could also use a big enough mirror, but either way you’ll see the whole person. This prevents what I call the butcher effect because it’s really hard to kind of carve yourself up into pieces when you can see the whole person.
There will be times where you do have to focus in closely, usually on your face. You can’t put on mascara without getting a little bit close to the mirror. Go ahead and perform whatever function you need to in order to get up close. But if you find yourselves fixating on one particular part of your face or one particular part of your body for too long, zoom out, change your perspective.
Also, really notice and become aware of any little critical or bullying voices that fly in when you’re looking at yourself. If you hear a voice that starts saying ugly or disgusting, just note it. Better yet, just tell it to take a hike, but noting it, becoming aware of it is the first step.
And finally, when you look at yourself, make sure you are only looking at your own refection and not comparing yourself to how you feel you should look or should be. The minute you start comparing your own reflection or your own body to some idealized notion of what you feel you should be, you’re on the road to misery.
So, what group do you fall into?
The bit of mirror usage, the avoiders, or do you spend too much time in front of the mirror?
You might want to monitor your mirror usage for a couple weeks and if you like, try out one of my recommendations.
I hope that maybe you can feel a bit better about yourself.