In every horror movie, there is always a scene where someone looks in a mirror and sees something that shouldn’t be there. Perhaps their reflection is distorted, perhaps their reflection moves when it shouldn’t. Or perhaps there is no reflection at all. Why is the idea of your reflection so important? Why do mirrors have the abilities to completely destroy self confidence as well as self image?
When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see your beauty? Or do you see your flaws and imperfections? Do you see something you wished weren’t there? How often do you look at yourself and flinch a little, seeing something that you wished you could change?
You probably only see yourself for less than 10 minutes every day. The rest of the time, you exist in the eyes of others. Think about all the things that you don’t see. You spend your entire life looking at everyone else, only to glimpse at yourself for a few moments when you pass by something that holds your reflection. Sure, cameras capture your image, but only for that one moment. You will never see yourself as how others see you. You won’t see the way your crooked smile lights up a room. You won’t see your eyes light up as they look at your girlfriend or boyfriend. You won’t see how delicately you dance ballet or how gracefully you swim. You won’t see your determination as you finish an essay and you won’t see the way you chew your pencil as you write your exam. You won’t get to see your tongue stick out when you ice a cake and you won’t get to see how that necklace brings out your eyes. There are so many precious things about you that you are showing to the rest of the world that you will never get the chance to see.
Let’s change gears for a second, and picture living in a world where you never see your own reflection. You live your entire life not knowing what you look like, only seeing the image of everyone else. Do you look like them, you wonder. Or do you look completely different? Would you have a greater self-confidence, never being able to point out your flaws? You would be defined by what is on the inside, not what you see on the outside. Our bodies are simply a vessel for carrying around our incredible personalities, our hopes, dreams, and interests.
Although we’ve probably all heard about these tips before, I’m going to restate them because they are entirely important and necessary. To feel better about your body and your self-image you need to start by changing your actions and lifestyle to allow yourself to feel better about your physical appearance.
- Exercise more. Exercise can not only be used to tone body fat, build muscle, and help with strength and endurance, but exercise can make you feel amazing as well. Exercising for thirty minutes can release endorphins in your brain; which are positive feel-good chemicals that will give you a greater sense of well-being. Exercise can also help bring you to your ideal body and physical appearance. It doesn’t always mean doing sit-ups and jogging, but it’s about finding exercise that is fun and suitable for you. This could mean doing weight lifting, swimming, rock climbing, yoga, dance, or tossing a frisbee with your friends.
- Eat healthy. We all know that certain foods are fattening and unhealthy for us. However, these foods also weigh us down and build additional bulk. The chemicals in some foods can show down neurotransmitters in our brains, meaning our physiological thought process is actually slower. Again, it doesn’t mean you have to munch on raw celery for the rest of your life. Eating healthy is also about finding foods that you enjoy eating and eating a balanced diet of many nutrients.
- Surround yourself with positive people. I can’t stress how important this is. We all have those people in our lives that seem to be negative all of the time; all they do is complain or stress and it brings you down to be around them as well. These are people that you should spend less time with. Be around positive people that make you feel good about yourself, your image, and the kind of person you are. Being around positive people that make you smile will make you a more happy and positive person as well. Also, being around people who have a positive body image will pass onto this as well. The human mind is easily impressionable, and the opinions and mindsets of others can easily be transferred to you.
So next time you look at yourself in the mirror, smile. Because you are an incredible, beautiful, fantastic person and I 100% believe in you. Find your positives, maybe you can see ten million, or maybe you can only see one. However big or small it is, focus on that the next time you think about yourself and your self-image. Instead of saying “my feet are too big”, tell yourself “I love my green eyes”. Instead of saying “I wish I were taller”, tell yourself “I love the way my hair looks.” Focus on the positive readers. And always… keep smiling. 🙂
Different reflection photo from http://www.npr.org.