In college I can distinctly remember spending far too much time in Target testing the ‘el cheapo’ mirrors to find one of the $19.99 variety with the fewest distortions. Nothing bothered me more than getting a false sense of my thinness only to have it stolen away when standing in front of another, more accurate mirror – or worse, seeing photographic proof of my wider body shape.
Officially in my 30’s now, one might think that I’ve graduated to more sturdy mirrors, but I just received a Wal-Mart special “el cheapo” mirror that I ordered last week. Between babies, a dog and a cat, furniture and housewares don’t have a long lifespan here so I find myself more frequently opting for value purchases. Upon initial examination of my new mirror, I was disappointed to see a much thinner version of me staring back in the reflection.
Despite my skinny mirror pet peeve, which still exists (I am a realist after all), I am holding on to the mirror. I have decided that perhaps seeing a thinner version of myself isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, maybe, just maybe, it will do me a some good.
Here’s my thinking on this topic. I’ve been paying more attention to my self-talk lately. And surprise, surprise, I’m not treating myself very compassionately. I noticed that I had been berating myself for an array of things I’ve done wrong – having a dirty apartment, eating a high calorie snack, not staying hydrated enough, not getting enough done around the house, etc.. And as a result, I feel like a hot mess. I hate that feeling. I am someone who typically takes a lot of pride in having it mostly together. Ugh…
An old friend of mine from business school visited me the other night. We used to enjoy talking smack about anyone and everyone – really ugly and immature behavior, of course – and I have to say she did a complete 180, totally transformed. When I asked her about it, she explained that a few years ago, she recognized the error in her ways. She felt she wasn’t living life compassionately, and she decided to do something about it. She began by noticing something positive about every person she saw or met, who she would have historically passed judgment (usually negative) upon. A worthwhile pursuit, for certain.
What’s even more important, and especially interesting to me, is what she did next. After she habitualized calling out the positive about others, she then decided to apply the same rules to herself. From here on out, she would only to “speak” to herself in a loving, kind, and non-judgemental way.
I must admit, as an outsider looking in, today she seems like a calmer, more centered and happier version of her old self. It is remarkable.
So, back to that skinny mirror. I realized that especially when I am not training for a race, I have tended in the past to spend a significant amount of time examining and judging my body, so much so that the “ugly” parts were far more obvious to me than the “beautiful” parts. I know, I know, all bodies are beautiful, but we all have our hang ups.
So, in addition to broaching this issue head-on like my friend, which I am in the process of doing, I figure that maybe keeping a skinny mirror around will help me temporarily notice the awesome things about my body.
But those clothes that are too tight, the ones you dream of fitting in next summer, those aren’t doing anybody any good. Donate, sell or toss ’em.
It’s a beautiful journey…