Yes! You can like what you see in the mirror!
But first, how does your day start? Anything like this?
You glance in the mirror first thing and notice how tired you look. And when you inspect more closely you see the eye creases from being squashed against your pillow (or not), and you think urgh, when did that happen? I need to cover that up or just wear a face scarf all day.
If you entertain yourself for a few seconds longer you mentally comment on the freckles, scars or pimples in the ‘wrong’ place. Why couldn’t I just have one tiny mole in the perfect place to look sexy?
And if you’ve got a full-length mirror, you might spend a few more moments on the size or the shape of your body. You notice your arms, your legs, your tummy, or any other body part that your attention always magnetises to. I’m so… (fill in self-deprecating phrase here), if only I was thinner, more muscly, bustier, taller, shorter. I wish I looked more like (fill in name of model whose pictures are often photo-shopped to within an inch of their lives).
So do you like what you see in the mirror? Perhaps not. Will you ever like what you see in the mirror? With practice, consistency and kindness, YES! It’s easy to think that if you ‘just’ botox away those lines, or lose some of that fat on your thighs that you’ll like what you see in the mirror. I hate to break it to you, but psychology shows that if you have body dissatisfaction, changing something external will most likely not help. It’s actually your thoughts and beliefs about yourself that control your levels of body satisfaction. Good news: you’re in control + changing thoughts and beliefs is free and doesn’t harm your body. Bad news: It’s not an overnight solution.
You might be thinking, great Kali, thanks for that, but how do I do that so that I can like what I see in the mirror? There are many ways, and I’ll share a few with you right here.
Start your day right.
Even before you’ve set foot outside your bed and gone anywhere near a mirror, say something nice to yourself. Not just nice, but supportive and kind and gentle. I start my day with my hand on my heart or belly, saying Kali, you are enough. And I say it enough times until I feel it sink in. Or I start the day with, I am powerful or I am creative, or something else, depending on what energy I would like more of in that day. Ask yourself: What do I need to hear today? What will make me feel stronger, more beautiful, more confident? Then say it to yourself (you don’t have to say it out loud, but that’s pretty cool too).
Then to the mirror…
When you reach the mirror, smile. If that creates creases, be thankful for all the smiling you must have done in your life to create those! Smile at the face you see looking back at you because guess what, that’s your best friend right there. And if you don’t feel like her best friend, start cultivating that lifelong friendship right now with a dose of kindness, compassion and gentle words. If you’re feeling extra brave, smile, wink and say hi honey.
What you first see is only skin deep. Underneath that reflection is so much more. You are a whole human being with an amazing brain, a multitude of thoughts, dreams, challenges, and a huge heart that sometimes takes your breath away. Look into your eyes and for a moment think of who that person is underneath these ‘flaws’ that are trained to jump out at you. Don’t let what you think you ‘should’ look like define how happy you are in this remarkable body you call home. Don’t let society, the media, any person tell you what makes you beautiful, amazing, wonderful. You are unique. You are the only human being in the whole world who looks, thinks and acts as you do. Think about that for a moment.
What part of the reflection can you cultivate gratitude for? Start small. Maybe it’s the way the colour in your iris spills into a magical pattern that looks as though you were high up in the plane looking back at Earth. Or when you smile you get a small indent where a dimple could go and it makes you look cheeky. Perhaps it’s that those legs you think should look different have taken you on so many incredible adventures that have shaped who you are today. Getting the picture?
This is not just a morning thing. It’s an any time of day, rest of your life kind of thing. Practice. And then practice some more, and keep practicing until it feels normal. Fake it til you make it! Be conscious of your words, every word that you say to yourself. Would you say those things to a best friend? If not, consider rewording them for yourself. Inject some kindness.
I think you are amazing. I think you are enough. And I think you are beautiful just as you are…now stop reading this and go out and start believing those things for yourself!
Do you do any of these already? Let me know. Or share some of your own practices that help you to like or even love the reflection you see in the mirror.