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What do you see in the mirror?

2013-04-10 17:08:12

Published on 2013-04-10 17:08:12

Like most women, I have days when I find it difficult to face up to the reflection staring back at me. I’ve worked with women who go to great lengths to either avoid or take only occasional glances at their reflection. According to the Social Issues Research Centre, this isn’t unusual behaviour, with eight out of ten women being dissatisfied with their reflection. This is in stark contrast with men, who report being either pleased by or indifferent to what they see.

What is it about the mirror that has such power to make you feel good or bad about your appearance? After all, our reflection is only a two dimensional image, and certainly doesn’t fully capture the real you. Learning to accept your reflection means getting some perspective on what you see. Here are some of the tactics that I’ve found helpful in taking a healthier view on what I see in the mirror:

Others don’t see what you see

When you look in the mirror, it’s likely you are only a few inches away, seeing everything up close. It’s no wonder that with such a view that you’ll see every tiny flaw or imperfection. The way you see yourself in the mirror isn’t how others see you. Others can’t possibly get that close without invading your personal space (with the exception of your partner maybe!). Just reminding yourself of this fact will help you to take a kinder view of your face or body close up.

Deal with what’s going on in your mind

What we see in the mirror is seldom the reality of what is physically reflected. You’re looking at yourself through the filters of the beliefs you have about your appearance, “I’m wrinkly”, “I’m spotty”, “I’m overweight” and when you look in the mirror you are looking for evidence to reinforce your beliefs. It’s shouldn’t be a surprise when that belief is reflected back at you. It’s not your reflection that’s the issue; it’s what’s going on in your mind. Getting perspective on what you see in the mirror requires an overhaul of your beliefs – you can read more how to do this in my article, Projecting a Positive Image.

Daily mirror work

Women have become so obsessed with what they don’t like about their body or appearance that they have forgotten to look for what they do like. Each day, whenever you look in the mirror identify something that you do like. When you do this on a daily basis you start to drown out the negative thoughts you have about your appearance and get a healthier perspective on your body.


What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Use a full length mirror

Women tend to look at their bodies in sections, spending time obsessing about individual bits they don’t like. Advertising encourages this practice, as beauty retailers want you to buy products that offer solutions to the flaws and imperfections for different body parts. Although any single part that you look at in isolation might not conform to the ‘ideal’ of beauty being sold to you, when you look at your body in its entirety, all the different parts fit together as a cohesive package, that’s uniquely you.

Ditch the magnifying mirror

If you have one of these, when has it ever made you feel good about your appearance? Does it really serve any great purpose? My advice is to ditch it!

Remember, your reflection does not define you! You are a person with many different facets and attributes that can’t be seen in a mirror.



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