Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life. Yoko Ono

For many of us female-type people, it's not easy to look in the mirror.

We're hard on ourselves. We don't just see our reflection. We see body parts to be criticized and judged. We ask ourselves: Is this a bad hair day? Do I look fat in these pants? What's going on with my chin(s)?

Constant criticism is a form of abuse. We wouldn't tolerate it from anyone else, but we do it to ourselves. I know a woman who goes as far as cutting her face out of family pictures. Where does that kind of self-loathing come from?

Of course, to be entirely honest, has there ever been a picture taken of me that I haven't judged harshly?

Five years ago, I had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. When I looked in the mirror, I saw utter and complete damage. My body image was in the toilet. I was angry, broken and overwhelmed.

Little by little, my body healed and I came to accept the changes breast cancer had caused. Yet, I still judged, even though no one knows better than I the traumas (miscarriages, infertility, cancer, abuse) this body has taken and survived magnificently.

And there it is. I dared to say it.


It's not easy to admit, but it's actually easier to criticize than it is to celebrate my body. I don't want to be "full of myself," so I become lesser. I'm afraid to seem conceited. I'm embarrassed by compliments. I don't want to appear to have a big head.

I'd be ashamed to get caught smiling in the mirror.

In the end, it's not about what we see in the mirror. It's about who we see. Can we love and accept ourselves from the inside out?

Can we say with complete conviction: "I'm enough!"

I've watched the video above more than once and teared up every time. With all of the social conditioning females are subjected to and how hard it is to own our magnificence, can we ever look in the mirror and see what those who love us see?

It's not easy, but maybe we can take it one smile at a time.



P.S. The video reminded me of a book I recently read, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It. It's short and sweet inspirational reading. Check it out!

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