In college, a suite-mate of mine made daily trips to the mirror in my room because she thought it made her look better than her own. Have you ever done something similar or had a favorite mirror? Being six months pregnant with my fourth, I find myself doing this lately because mirrors, perceptions, and acceptance are part of my daily work in learning to have a healthy, loving relationship with my body image – one that reflects from the inside out the love and light I possess.
Currently I am BFFs with the dresser mirror in my bedroom. Unfortunately it is not the one I see myself reflected in most often (that would be the water- and toothpaste-splattered bathroom mirror, as it seems that I am always in there to help one kid or another “flush and wash and be on their way” or because, you know, I am six months along with my fourth). When I can, the dresser mirror is my go to place to practice enjoying what I see when I take in this ever-changing body of mine. I am finding, however, that it is not just my mirror choice that matters when it comes to seeing myself in a positive and compassionate way.
Recently I have begun looking at friendships and interactions with others in the same way I do mirrors: some are just better than others at reflecting the me I desire to be.
Just as my bathroom mirror is in constant need of being wiped down or sometimes makes me feel frumpy, there are some people I encounter who don’t feel quite right or don’t bring out the best in me. These are the people who require that extra bit of patience or energy when dealing with them, or sometimes need to be avoided altogether. This doesn’t make them bad, per say, but when you have a choice, why not keep searching for those (mirrors/coworkers/friends) who do reflect the person you most wish to see or be?
The truth is, the you that stands before one particular mirror or person is the same in front of another. Your flaws do not magically disappear when you change reflectors, but your perspective has every potential to shift, and sometimes that movement is a result of what/who stands before you.
To pick a reflection of both our bodies and our hearts that not only can we accept, but that can also be returned in the faces, words, and attention we receive from those we are blessed to call our people, those who know us and love us faults and all, is a remarkable gift. It is also the gift of choice; the gift of surrounding ourselves with those who encourage us to stand tall and be proud, all while shining back to us the love we carry in our hearts.
The one (mirror/job/person) that makes you feel less than? Don’t be afraid to leave it in search of another more accepting outlook, especially if you’ve put in a ton of elbow grease and it still doesn’t shine (so not talking about just glass here). New views await, and as scary as change can be, it is empowering to know what we have the potential to keep seeking, keep choosing, to find our true reflections – from both the looking glass and our daily connections to others.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? What about when you look in the faces of those around you? My hope is that you see love, and that you remember that you ultimately have a choice of which mirror and which people are reflecting that love back to you.