A fairy tale question that can be the basis for our every day ritual. A mirror image is a reflected duplication of an object that appears identical but reversed, but often, what we see is not just reversed but distorted. 8 out of 10 women are dissatisfied with their reflection, and more than half see a distorted image of themselves.
Compliment Your Mirror Day is a tough one for many of us. We are critical and we are continually pushed to strive for perfection.
You see a person when you look in the mirror that no one sees but you. Other people see a person when they look at you, but you’re not that person, either. Roy H. Williams
Many women and some men spend much of their lives attempting to change their bodies. Only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful. And it starts early. The best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction, with the median age for onset of an eating disorder in adolescents being 12- to 13-years-old.
What is body image?
A positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in many shapes and sizes, and that physical appearance says very little about our character or value as a person. A healthy body image means that our assessment of our bodies is kept separate from our sense of self-esteem, and it ensures that we don’t spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight and calories.
Researchers have found that increased preoccupation with appearance and body dissatisfaction put people at greater risk for engaging in dangerous practices to control weight and size. Extreme dieting, exercise compulsion, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking and use of anabolic steroids have all been associated with negative body image.
I am SO guilty of looking in the mirror and picking away at the things that are not perfect: the mole under my armpit, my crooked toes, and my short waist. Not to mention my eye lids that are sagging with age and the loose skin on my arms. It is hard to look at yourself in the mirror and ignore what is not ‘ideal’ and to celebrate what is unique and beautiful.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty hired a criminal sketch artist to draw women as they see themselves and as others see them. The social experiment revealed that women’s perceptions of themselves were very different than how others view them. Unbelievably powerful video…
Body image, whether negative or positive, is shaped by a variety of factors, including:
- Comments from family, friends and others about our, their, and other people’s bodies, both positive and negative. Attractive people have distinct advantages in our society. Studies show that attractive children are more popular, both with classmates and teachers, teachers give higher evaluations to the work of attractive children, that attractive applicants have a better chance of getting jobs, and of receiving higher salaries and they are found guilty less often or receive less severe sentences.
- Exposure to images of idealized versus normal bodies – According to the CDC, for women ages 20 years old and older, the average height for women in America is 5’3″ and weight is 166.2 pounds. For fashion models the average is 5’10” and 120 pounds. Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts found that 70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines. And a 2006 study published in the journal of Psychology of Men and Masculinity showed that not only did watching prime-time television and music videos appear to make men more uncomfortable with themselves, but that the discomfort led to sexual problems and risky behaviors. When people see the same images over and over and they start to believe it as reality.
We have a positive body image when we have a realistic perception of our bodies AND we enjoy them just as they are.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating Compliment Your Mirror Day:
- De-emphasize the numbers. Neither weight nor BMI are nearly as important as eating habits, activity patterns, and other self-care choices. A Health At Every Size (HAES) approach focuses on body acceptance, decreasing restrictive eating, increasing attendance to internal cues for hunger and satiety, nutrition information, and addressing barriers to enjoyable physical activity and has been found to be a much more successful approach to maintaining and enhancing one’s health.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Your physiology is unique to you.
- Spend time with people who have a healthy relationship with food, activity, and their bodies. It will make a difference in how you feel about yourself. Set a good example for others by refraining from “fat talk” or “old talk” when you are with friends and family. Think of it as the psychic equivalent of second-hand smoke.
- Practice thought-stopping when it comes to negative statements about yourself. Focus on what you like about yourself. Positive statements need to replace old messages.
Some quotes that I like:
In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. Warren Buffett
Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey. Malcolm De Chazal
Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life. Yoko Ono
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!