Mirror, Mirror

 

How do people see me?

I don’t think about it much. ThoughtBubble

It’s not because I don’t care but because I’m too busy asking my magic mirror (who isn’t very nice) what it thinks of me.

It always finds faults.

The way I look, act, parent, write…

When I put my face, my body, my writing, or my parenting skills in front of that mirror, they are ugly.

Add all my health problems and that’s that.

Sometimes I can fix the imperfections, other times I want to smash the mirror. There are days I can’t even look because I know what I will see.

In this way, I do wonder how others view me. I wonder if it’s the same way I view myself. I’m thinking it’s not.

I can be cruel.

I catch myself thinking something negative about myself and realize that I would never say that to someone else.

Chances are I wouldn’t even notice the perceived flaw.

Is this my internalization of society’s image of what I should be or an issue with my self-esteem? Is there a difference?

I’ve noticed I’m not alone in this. Why do otherwise ordinary, considerate, kind people do this to themselves?

 

Mirror Mirror

Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by society’s image of what you should be seeing.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

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30 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror

  1. For some reason we take healthy happy people and break them over their physical appearance. This includes breaking ourselves. I don’t know why we do it. I’m 43 years old. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see anything that resembles handsome or strong…but the older I get I start to refuse to believe what I see…I put more faith in what others who love me, believe about me…and it’s becoming enough for me. I hope you get to that stage one day, Sarah. None of us is perfect and we all fight the same battle against an end we can’t stop from coming. I’ve just decided that when it is all over I will want to be able to say, I made a difference when I could.

    Peace, Young beautiful writer.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting: “but the older I get I start to refuse to believe what I see…I put more faith in what others who love me, believe about me”. That is so very cool, Eric. I like it. No, none of us is perfect and I, too, want to be able to say I made a difference. That’s the important part, isn’t it? Thanks. ❤ Those are four of the loveliest words I've seen in a long time. And now they're all mine.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Self-doubt is terrible. I do this sometimes when I compare others’ successes with my own. Or wonder why I haven’t reached that point yet. My best remedy is to see just how far I’ve come, and it somehow does the trick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know the answer. I think knowing that we have done nothing with intent to hurt someone else (and that includes parenting) and accepting that as the best we can do as we are human goes a long way. How you stop regarding yourself that is a harder hurdle to jump. As a writer I think we all have our doubts especially when we read others work that we deem so much better than our own. I think we have to just accept that our voice is just that our voice and although we can make our writing better with practice it is never going to be like some of those that I, at least, idolise but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.
    Anyway you can perhaps find some comfort knowing that you are not alone in this thought bubble.
    Hope you are getting better and they have worked it all out for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve put effort into my physical appearance, exercising to have the body I want. I’m almost there (my goal is 20% body fat and I’m at 23.7%). So visually, I’m not as hard on myself as I have been in the past. My insecurity comes with my face. I have a crooked jaw and face-shape I’m not fond of. I used to hear a couple of guys joke about a woman, calling her “Butter Face.” When I asked what they were talking about, they said, “Everything looks good, but her face.” It made me wonder if people said cruel things like that about me behind my back, like they did with her. That’ll probably be something I’ll never shake.

    The rest of it? Well, a three-year-old post pretty much sums up how I feel about me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is heinous. Truly. I think you are beautiful but that’s not really the point here. Ugh, why we are so hard on ourselves? Well, good for you getting to look the way you wanted through effort and determination. I’m off to read your old post…

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  5. Sometimes I wonder why we are so cruel to ourselves. We love many others––flaws and all. So, why is it so difficult to love ourselves? I can relate with you. Too often I find myself looking in the mirror and doubting myself but I try to fight it. Sometimes I win––sometimes I lose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s it, isn’t it? Every one has flaws. We love our friends and (sometimes) family 😉 despite these so why do we not extend that same forgiveness or understanding to ourselves? I do not know. Here’s to more wines for you.

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  6. I think how we see our magic mirrors needs to change! They don’t tell us our faults; they reflect back things we’d like to improve in ourselves. It is what drives us to learn, to grow, and to develop. It is what teaches us how to maximize the value of some of the things we cannot change; and value the things we have. And sometimes, that magic mirror even reflects back to us the beautiful person that we are. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ah. “they reflect back things we’d like to improve in ourselves. It is what drives us to learn, to grow, and to develop.” Great way to look at it. (No pun intended.) I’m working on the magic reflecting back the beauty. ❤

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  7. My self-mirror is the harshest, nastiest, worst critic. If anyone ever spoke to me the way I speak to myself, I would say they were abusive. Sigh. You’re so right – we are so hard on ourselves. It’s something I’m really, really working on. Being kinder to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right? It’s harsh. Great word. And a reality slap that if anyone else said the things you thought, it would be abusive. We really are hard on ourselves. Something I also need to work on. Obviously.

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  8. It is a cruel thing, to hold a mirror to yourself. That mirror accentuates flaws and hides virtues until you are left desperate for validation, or even (in my case) not believing the good others see in you. Thank you for showing the mirror for what it is. Even a reminder that others view themselves in that same mirror gives comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Being hard on ourselves is one thing but when it extends outward (as it often does) and you can no longer accept or believe the good others see in you, that is another issue entirely. I’ve been there.

      Agreed. I wish others didn’t do this but it is sometimes nice to know you’re not alone. ❤

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  9. You know, I think I was harder on myself when I was younger. Now it’s almost as if I don’t have time to be overly critical. But I definitely have staggering moments of self-doubt and worry about writing and my “career” – notice the quotes, ha. Also, summertime at the pool I can’t help but notice all the other fit moms strutting their stuff in bikinis, and I can’t help but feel twinge-y for my softness and unfitness, but I can compartmentalize it more quickly now. I’m like, yeah, those ladies are rocking it and maybe one day I will again, and maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I did notice those quotes. Hmm… Smash that mirror, Dana, you’re a writer. An amazing one.

      Interesting that you had this issue more when you were younger. I know I had a nasty mirror when I was younger but I think the mirror has morphed into a monster attacking my writing and parenting. Bodies in bikinis… Sometimes I think, “That was me just a FEW YEARS ago!” But, with all my health problems, now I often think, “At least I’m still here.”

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  10. Kate has these gorgeous quilts in her hospital room. They don’t look like patchwork; they look like art with material and embroidery blending to create a whole. Yet the woman who made them will isolate every single flaw. And I think that’s what we do when we buy into the societal mirror of beauty or behavioral perfection; we are taught to focus on the flaws and soon we lose sight of the work of art each of us is. The messages and cruel remarks we grow up with or internalize warp the mirror. Break it, I say and live your best where you are, who you are and what you can be. Go buy yourself the book, “On the Night You Were Born” and read it to yourself as your bedtime story:

    “On the night you were born,
    the moon smiled with such wonder
    that the stars peeked in to see you
    and the night wind whispered,
    ‘Life will never be the same.’

    Because there had never been anyone like you…
    ever in the world.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Doubting self is an easy thing to do. We are taught from a young age to not be “full of ourselves” as if there is something wrong with liking ourselves. But really until we like ourselves and accept ourselves we can’t really like or accept anyone else. I know this to be true, and it’s coming from the biggest self-doubter on the planet.
    When I was teaching we started every day with a beautiful affirmation song from the wonderful CD “Special as I can be” by the lovely Anne Infante. Anne also has a CD of affirmations for adults. One of her songs is called “When I look in the mirror” and continues “I see someone beautiful. I see me.” Then each verse adds on “I see someone wonderful/lovable” etc. They are wonderful songs to start the day, and to sing at any time during the day to remind yourself of how wonderful you are.
    Another strategy I suggest is making a “Feel good about myself book”. In it put reminders of your achievements, things you do well, things that are good about you, and that you like about yourself, including photos of good times and letters and cards from others telling you of your special qualities. I made one of these years ago and any time I was having a down day, I would take it out and read and reassure myself that things weren’t/I wasn’t as bad as I thought.
    When I was leaving work this week my colleagues presented me with a lovely photo book that included beautiful words of affirmation from each one of them. It has now become my new favourite book. What a generous thing for them to do.
    Having said all that. I’m still often (always) not happy with what I see in the mirror. But that’s okay I’ve just got to get on with it and keep on improving.
    Here is a link to Anne Infante’s website if you are interested. Anne Infante I also blogged about it here.
    Sorry for writing an almost-post response. I hope you are doing well and back in top form soon. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • So weird. I don’t picture you as a self-doubter. You don’t present yourself that way. Which is not the point but… Interesting. I think it was a good thing for your students that you were. A blessing in disguise? Because you started each small child off each day with affirmations that probably stuck in their brains somewhere and helped them become more accepting and loving of themselves. I’ll have to try making a book like that though I don’t know if I’ll be in the mood to look at it when I most need it. O_o

      I love the book your colleagues gave you. What a treasure. I will check out the links. (I’m working on the “top form” and hoping to get back there. Thank you.)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Our society tends toward shallowness, in just about everything. Appearances and things are valued over heart. It’s a cliche, but needs to be said: true lasting beauty resides on the inside. When we value the beauty of kindness, compassion, generosity, love, forgiveness, and acceptance in ourselves, others will see it as well. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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