Mirror, mirror on the wall, why are you so mean to me after all? If I asked you about your relationship with the mirror what would you tell me? What’s the first thing you think of when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror? Is it positive? I’m going to venture and say it’s probably not. Most women have an ongoing struggle with the mirror and their self image. In fact according to a recent study: “Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.” *
You may need to read that again…91% are unhappy with their bodies. 91% of anything is the VAST majority. Why is this a problem? What happens when we don’t like our bodies? When you don’t feel good on the outside you know for sure there’s an all out war happening on the inside and when there’s turmoil on the inside we’re not able to show up in the world as our best selves. There’s a huge portion of ourselves that’s being held back or too consumed thinking about our body, food, what we look like in our clothes, how we wish the clothes fit better, how we wish we looked like size 000 negative zero Sally over there. How is that even possible for someone to be that thin? Hasn’t she had MORE kids than me?
See why this is a problem? One, you’re only operating on a fragment of the YOU you could be, you’d like to be, and you really are underneath the loud chatter of negative self talk.
Two, your confidence and the mirror are at odds with one another so again, you’re unlikely to put yourself out there in the world because you don’t think you can.
Three, it feels TERRIBLE, shameful, depressing, and negative all around. Your FEELINGS move you into action…or inaction. Meaning, how you feel will affect what you do or don’t do.
Four, every time you give in to this negative cycle of needing to look in the mirror and hoping that something has changed and that magically you lost 30 lbs overnight, the wrinkles disappeared, and no more gray hairs have sprouted. So you look in the mirror, and AGH…or UGH…followed by a stream of negative self talk and a super magnified view of every little perceived “flaw” you have. Then you feel terrible and show up less than stellar. Then the cycle starts all over again the next day. Fun. (FREEBIE to get help with this concept snag that HERE The mirror )
Five, we teach and exemplify this (even without verbally saying or “teaching”) to others, especially to the younger generation. I remember once my grandmother making a comment that she doesn’t like to look in the mirror. I was young at the time and was thoroughly confused. Why wouldn’t you like to look in the mirror? But over time her comment stuck with me and over time I too could resonate with that statement.
Okay, I could go on and on and on and on why this is a problem but really, I don’t need to. YOU know why it’s a problem for you. I’m going to focus today on the way it makes us FEEL because feelings promote actions and as a coach I help women create a life they LOVE. I help them show up as their BEST SELVES and you can’t do that when you’re feeling crappy all the time. So, today, let’s just start there, shall we?
How do you learn to love yourself when you can’t even like yourself and you can’t stand to look in the mirror? This question was asked to me recently. It’s not an easy process, or a quick one…yay…BUT I promise you it’s WORTH EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of struggle and effort because when you can see yourself in the mirror, in any selfie, picture, reflection, and social media post and NOT cringe or hear ANY negative anything that’s a huge portion of FREEDOM. I’m going to give you some tools in a minute to get you started but first I want to ask you a question:
How much time would you estimate you spend thinking about your weight, food, flaws, body image, regret for eating something you “shouldn’t” have, wishing you had whiter teeth, slender fingers, smaller feet, better hair, comparing your image to another’s, wishing you looked different, wishing you could change something about yourself, how your clothes fit, how they don’t fit, how you wish you look like the models who sport those cute clothes, etc? Anything really that has to do with body image.
A lot? I’m going to guess a lot. 91% of women most likely spend a lot of time using their mental energy to said topics above. Now, if you DIDN’T have to think about those things, if you had the IDEAL (your perceived ideal) image what would you spend all that energy on? What would you think about then? How would you feel?
The best news is this: our thoughts create how we feel (read this post here about that). We don’t have to wait until this fictional, non existent day comes to feel better NOW. If you want to feel better and learn to make friends with the mirror you have to start at the power source…your mind.
Your mind creates the world around you. It’s through your eyes that decide how to see yourself, how you value yourself, how much emphasis you place on others and label things as good or bad.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not telling you to go to a mirror and tell yourself that you’re the most beautiful creature that ever graced the planet earth. If you don’t like the idea of the mirror at all doing something like that, or even thinking something like that will just backfire and be bad all around. The first thing we need to do is get out of negativity.
We need to get out of the dark. I love the saying that it’s a TUNNEL NOT A CAVE. We’re not destined to be stuck forever in this negative and dark space when it comes to our body image. That in itself is a great thought. So much hope there. We need to learn to put one foot in front of the other and take tiny steps forward and into the light. I have this printer that I can adjust the settings to lighter of darker. Not that exciting but you can picture this scale, right? It’s preset to be right in the middle but occasionally I’ll adjust it and go one or two steps into either direction. Think about this with your thoughts.
Where are you now on a scale of -10 to +10? Be honest with yourself. If you’re in the negatives in any degree you need to learn to take baby steps, one at a time to get to neutral – just get to 0 first. Then after you can be at o with yourself for a while you can start to add in positivity as well.
This is something I struggled with for a very, very, very long time. I remember being very young and thinking I was fat. I definitely felt and thought that all throughout high school into college into motherhood and it wasn’t until all my kids were born that I started learning how to climb out of this cave/tunnel that I had so deeply ventured into.
The first step is learning to replace a negative thought with a neutral. You mind is so good and efficient at what it does which is process information and solve problems. It NEEDS a problem to solve, something to challenge it, to think about. For years I gave my brain the problem of self image. My brain was so good at finding each and every flaw, everything the I thought was wrong with me, why it was a problem and although I had gotten pretty good at masking it and putting on a smile those negative thoughts were ever present and it kept me feeling stuck, sad, and resigned. Not fun to say the least.
You have to give your mind something it CAN’T argue with. If you replace the negative thought with a factual neutral thought AND give it something else to “work on” you can START making the journey out of the dark and into positivity, self acceptance, confidence, and love.
When you look in a mirror resist the urge to REACT. This will take practice. That reaction is a LEARNED, PRACTICED, and DEEPLY ROOTED habit. You’ve practiced this reaction for how long??? Don’t expect yourself to stop doing it right away. Know that you’re going to have to work at it.
Some neutral thoughts to try:
I’m a human.
I have a body.
I’m a woman.
I’m a daughter of God.
I have two eyes, two ears, and a nose.
Notice NONE of these contain adjectives. They’re not good nor are they bad. They just ARE. They are factual. You’re giving yourself thoughts that your brain won’t argue with because you didn’t give it an opinion to argue with. It just is.
Now, give your mind a challenge to solve of YOUR choosing. If you don’t, it will CREATE one and most likely it’ll be what it’s been “working on” for years – that of self image and finding flaws. What can you work on instead?
What other neutral things can I find about myself?
What can I use my energy and thoughts on instead of my image?
Fascination works great too – lots of questions from a curiosity standpoint and not a judgmental view. Hmm…that’s really interesting that my toes point in that direction. Things like that. Any time your brain starts veering back into what it’s used to – negativity – gently bring it back to neutrality.
You need to program your mind to see and accept you as a human being. Just that. If you didn’t have anyone else to compare yourself to you’d just see you and think, there I am. Get to this point. Once you can be with you in a neutral space then you can take it a notch up.
I am a human being and my body gets me to where I want to go.
I am a daughter of God and I have potential.
My body is capable of many things.
I have two eyes that are (describe in detail the color) – I have yet to find an eye color that is ugly. So unique, so different, so special.
The road to making peace with the mirror is a bit of a process but 100% doable and 100% worth it. Your THOUGHTS are what create how you feel. This process is all about retraining your brain to have NEW thoughts. Thoughts that are going to serve you.
The thoughts that you’ve held on to for a long, long, long time are going to be the most persistent and will take some solid energy to shift. Write those thoughts down. No one has to see them, just you. Then ask yourself, what’s the upside to this thought?
ex: I hate my figure
Question: What’s the upside to that thought?
None. It’s terrible!
Question: What feelings will keeping this thought generate?
happiness? peace? love? generosity? No. No. No. No.
More than likely it’ll produce, shame, sadness, loathing, guilt, self hatred.
Is there an upside to these feelings? No.
It’s time to change them. It’s time to start moving in the direction that WILL serve you, that WILL help you become the person you WANT to become.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, it’s time to make peace with you once and for all.
I want to help you. I want you to get freedom back. If this is something you struggle with and have struggled with for YEARS, like a lot of women. Set up a mini session with me. It’s FREE. I promise you’ll walk away with REAL tools to help you learn to gain confidence, peace, and self acceptance. This is powerful work and so worth it.
Book that HERE
DON’T FORGET YOUR FREEBIE! This is about the MIRROR CYCLE. It’s four pages to help you branch from NEGATIVE self talk to POSITIVE. Get that HERE:The mirror
Body image statistic found here:Body Image