Mirror, Mirror

An exercise in self-love

Photo by Sam Burriss

I have a mission for you; a little exercise in self-confidence you might call it. Most women spend a significant portion of their day looking in a mirror and assessing themselves. Usually negatively. I suspect a number of men do as well but not with same venom and fervor that women seem to. We really hate our bodies. Size doesn't even necessarily come into it. I've seen girls that could barely weigh 90 lbs hate on their bodies in front of a mirror.

It's not just weight we hate ourselves about either. It's our skin, our hair, our breasts, our asses, our pores, our complexion, our eyelashes—every possible imperfection that we can ferret out and examine up close in the mirror. The mirror becomes an enemy with an ever-assessing eye hunting down flaws and forcing us to dwell on them. The mirror is telling us we are not the fairest in the land but is saying, "You're ugly and everybody knows it."

I suspect this has a lot to do with beauty culture and a society that measures personal value based on attractiveness and consumer buying power. The beauty industry wants you to feel bad about your looks so you will buy their super amazing new de-uglying product! Look, isn't it amazing! Only our product will make you beautiful and if you aren't beautiful you'll never find love and you will die ugly and alone! The fact of the matter is the beauty industry wants your money and making you feel like crap is a good way to get it.

Unfortunately what has happened in our Western capitalist driven society is we have seriously internalized a hatred for our own bodies. I'm just as guilty of these negative behaviours as the next person. I stand in the mirror and focus on things I don't like. I wish my tummy was smaller. I change outfits multiple times because I think I look too fat in something. I scrutinize my pores much closer to the mirror than anyone will get to my face. I fall for "miracle" products that will give me perfect skin or hair. I look in every reflective surface I walk by assessing if I look awful. I constantly worry that other people are judging me on how I look.

It's time we made an effort to stop this negative treadmill of self-hatred. So here's my mission for you. You MUST spend at least 10 minutes a day looking in a mirror. You are NOT allowed to focus on anything negative about your body. You are NOT allowed to think a bad thought about any part of yourself for those 10 minutes. You are to focus on something you like. Even if it's just one little insignificant thing like "I like my eyes." For ten minutes a day, focus on something you like about your appearance. I'm betting over a period of time as you do this practice you will start to notice other things you like about yourself. Like hey, I got pretty nice cheekbones. Or hey, I have a nice smile. Or hey, I got great breasts! And maybe... just maybe this will cause a positive thought waterfall and you will start to feel better about your appearance and feel more self-confident. Maybe the mirror can stop being your enemy and go back to being a reflective device you use to make sure you don't have a booger hanging out of your nose instead of the all-powerful beauty and self-worth meter. Maybe... just maybe you will start to like yourself...

Now I'm not saying this is gonna suddenly fix a lifetime of societal capitalist-induced body hatred but I think it's a start. A way to stop judging yourself so harshly and to build self-confidence. And by the way, throw away your scale too. It's not helping either.

Sarah Sparks
Sarah Sparks

Witchcraft poet, neurotic sex symbol, over-educated sadist, and generally only dangerous to herself and a few unfortunate bedmates. Found haunting the halls of academia, frequenting shady establishments and eating candy at home in bed.

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Mirror, Mirror