Friday, October 19, 2012

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"

Compliment Yourself Even on Your "Ugly Days"

Pointing Out the Positive

"Mirror, mirror on the wall"
When I first got my idea for this post I was having a "pretty day." If you are a girl or woman you probably know what I am talking about. We have those "pretty days" when we look in the mirror and like what we see (for the most part.) And then we have those days, the "ugly days" when all we can see are our faults. We can't point out any positive attributes about ourselves. We feel fat, unattractive, dissatisfied, and for lack of a better word ugly. When I imagined writing this post it felt much simpler because I felt good about myself and how I looked that day. But today it is proving to be a bit more challenging because when I woke up all I could see was fat. Today is one of my "ugly days" but I am going to try and write this post anyways. If I can write a convincing post about pointing out the positives and boosting self-esteem on a day when I don't feel so great than I am well on my way to achieving a steadfast self-confidence that is not impacted by what I believe I see in the mirror.
Norman Rockwell, Girl at the Mirror (1954)
All this being said I would like to pose a question: What causes the "pretty days" and what causes the "ugly days?" Yesterday I felt relatively ok about my appearance and a week ago I can remember a specific day when I felt exceptionally pretty and content with my reflection. I think we can all agree that how I look today is basically identical to how I looked yesterday and basically the same as how I looked a week ago. What makes today different? Why do I feel ugly today when I didn't yesterday? I don't have the answer to any of these questions. I could try to play psychologist and delve into my psyche and mindset attempting to make loose connections between my mood and my perception but I feel as if this attempt would be a waste of my time and yours. I posed these questions not because I thought they deserved answering or even could be given definitive answers but instead to raise our awareness about the absurdity of "pretty days" and "ugly days." I am sure you have heard before that we are own worst critics. We look in the mirror and see a massive pimple that no one else notices until we point it out. We imagine that we have gained 5 pounds after indulging at one meal. We assume that we've gained weight when our jeans don't fit just right rather than blame the fact that we accidentally put them in the dryer. We look in the mirror and see countless flaws that others fail to notice either because they are not super obvious or because they simply don't exist. I want to propose a challenge, actually lets refer to it as a task instead, for all of us to attempt. When we look in the mirror each morning lets make a deliberate choice to point out our positives. We can start small with just one or two and than continue to build. We don't have to love everything about what we see but there has to be at least one thing we like or at least think is ok. It doesn't have to be consistent. It can change from day to day. But my goal in giving myself this task is to ultimately be able to point out enough positives that they negatives don't seem to matter much anymore. So today on my "ugly day" I had a difficult time finding an attribute that I was ok with so I started small. I like my wrists (this is my default physical quality that I always turns to when everything else seems less than satisfactory.) But on any given day I can honestly say that I really like my wrists. They are relatively dainty and I like watching them as they move across my computer keyboard. It seems as if they weightlessly float and no matter what I weigh they always seem to be petite and feminine. I adorn them with fun and girly bracelets that I think highlight and draw attention to them. It may be a weird thing to like about myself but I can whole heartedly say that my small and somewhat fragile wrists please me. No they are not a huge part of my overall appearance but like I said we can start small. I can give myself this compliment and believe it to be true. Now you try it! Whether your still in your pajamas, dressed for work, and in the process of getting ready look in the mirror and ask yourself "What do I see that I like about myself?" 
Now that I have said a great and fully threshed out my idea I'd like to offer both an affirmation and a quote to help move us along in achieving a sense of self-confidence and pride-

I see the perfect and natural beauty that I have been blessed with.

Can you believe and embody this affirmation? At the moment I cannot. I can appreciate certain attributes that I have been born with but I feel far from perfect. But being unable to fully believe this affirmation is ok because like I said before we can take small steps. We may never feel that our appearance is "perfect" but that is not what matters. What is important is that we can recognize our positive attributes, focus on them, and allow our recognition of them to become strong so that the negatives don't seem super apparent to us anymore. We all have a natural, G-d given beauty that cannot be denied. It is up to us to play up these attributes. When I say "play up" I don't mean it in the common way that make-up artists or stylists use on the countless make-over and weight loss shows currently on television. While they focus on physically drawing attention to and "playing up" your positive physical attributes I am suggesting that we mentally "play up" these positives. Let our minds focus on the positive rather than the negatives. Lets play them up in our minds so that these positives are all we see when we look in the mirror. 
Now I'd like to offer a brief quote before I leave you this morning-

"Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld."

- Martha Beck

I chose this quote for multiple reasons besides the fact that it fit perfectly with my theme for this entry. It plays with a familiar say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" but it twists it around to put focus back on the mind and the self. No matter what other people see when you walk out your door you cannot be beautiful unless you feel beautiful. By complimenting ourselves each morning no matter what we are wearing or how we are feeling we are one step closer to exuding the beauty the lies within us. We cannot be beautiful unless we feel beautiful inside and out. It is up to us to boost our own self-esteem and bolster our confidence. We may be our own worst critics but we can also be our own best friends. At the end of the day your opinion of yourself matters most of all. If you are happy, if you like yourself, if you are content with what you see in the mirror, then it does not matter what anyone else says or thinks. Don't bother asking the "mirror on the wall who's the fairest of them all" because your answer is the only one that matters. Instead lets look in the mirror and tell it that we are beautiful, that we have positive attributes, and that we are confident no matter what kind of day it is!

Look in the mirror and see the beauty that looks back at you,


  1. I really wish you would realize that you are the farthest from ugly/fat/big/excessive etc. Please do not let those "ugly" days prevent you from nourishing your body and taking steps in the right direction. Life becomes much easier when you don't have to fret about every weight fluctuation or change in eating habits. The more you allow yourself what you deserve and need to eat the more predictable and stable everything will come oddly enough.

    I'm glad you realize that even though we feel like an ugly day is such a massive change from the day before- there really is not a single difference. I know you said that you don't want to delve into the emotional underpinnings/triggers for that shift but I challenge you to do so at least outside of your blog. Only when you understand your emotions and are in touch with them will these drastic changes in your perception of yourself and your body begin to make sense. <3

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