Mirror Mirror OFF the Wall
Point to Ponder:
Do you find yourself overly concerned or critical of your appearance and what others think?
Unfortunately, I cannot keep an organized office to save my life. I have all of the necessities that would allow me to do so; however, despite my ongoing efforts to make the office my official and inspirational space to work, I can’t seem to make it happen! Instead, my office has officially spilled over into the closest room — our formal dining area. As a result of my disorganization, I am constantly shuffling through my piles trying to locate an important document, article, or reminder.
Last week and while in hot pursuit of finding a note, I saw a reminder on my bulletin board that I posted last fall. The note read, “No Mirrors/Negative Voices.” I immediately recalled the mind-blowing and introspective story I saw on 20/20. It featured Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology and bride-to-be, who in an effort to boost her self-esteem and inspire others to stop focusing on external perfection, avoided her reflection for one whole year!
In the past, Kristen struggled with her body image and battled eating disorders. After reading the book Birth of Venus, she was inspired to “live life experiencing the world for itself instead of constantly reflecting on how you looked. It was a life where you could get away from yourself.” She also noted, “I kept coming back to this pattern of perfectionism and obsessing about my appearance, and I thought, if I can’t think myself out of this, then maybe I need to change something about my environment to force me to change. The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life.”
While many months have passed since seeing Kjerstin’s story, I vividly remember being more aware of how many times I looked at myself in the mirror, a reflection in a window, or in my rear-and side-view mirrors of my car. Honestly, the result was disturbing. I found myself being critical of my appearance, and when I acknowledged my truth, my truth told me that I was too concerned with the opinions and approval of others.
Do I think that avoiding mirrors and reflections for one whole year is extreme? Yes. But do I think we should care about our appearance? Of course. However, I think Kjerstin’s point is powerful and brings up the very important subject of self worth, self acceptance, and self love—despite our physicality or societal approval. Furthermore and regardless of age, I believe that the junior high girl in us all has the capacity to show her insecure face at any time, so it is important that we do what is necessary to suppress her — even if that means covering all mirrors. Not only do we owe the gift of high esteem and self-value to ourselves, but we owe this to our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, husbands and future generations.
Look at yourself in the mirror and tell a friend or loved one (each day) at least one thing you like about yourself and that you are good at. Rotate the attributes so they include physical, mental, and personality characteristics and skill sets.