When you look in the mirror, what’s the first thing you notice?
For me it’s often the pudge of my belly, how messy or greasy my hair is, the shine on my forehead.
Can you relate?
Do you tend to focus on features you wish you could change? Maybe you even try to avoid the mirror at all costs.
When I was in 3rd grade my breasts started growing and I was NOT happy about this change. I remember standing in the mirror pounding on my chest, hoping to reverse it.
As I got older I’d look in the mirror, disgusted by my thighs touching. I’d pull the flesh back and feel both satisfaction at this improved look and disappointed that it wasn’t that easy to “fix.”
Most of us are conditioned to view our bodies are less than and want them to be a different way.
Yes I still look in the mirror and often notice something that could use improvement, but my thought process around it is much different now.
Last night I noticed my belly’s gotten a little meatier.
My initial thoughts were that I should eat better or exercise more.
But I quickly caught myself and replaced that judgment with appreciation.
I appreciate the meat on my belly because there were times that was not there. Times when I was weak, had no appetite, and was extremely anxious. I’d look in the mirror and feel sickly.
Such times were when my dad died, when my ex and I broke up, when I felt ravaged by panic attacks and indescribable loneliness.
During those times all I wanted was to feel strong and full of vitality.
Now when I see my belly, pudgier as it may be, I am grateful because it represents health, a strong appetite, and increased vitality.
It represents the ability to go out and enjoy dinner with friends, to indulge in a funnel cake, to spend a weekend relaxing on vacation. All things that were nearly impossible to do in a previous state of grief or anxiety.
Our bodies carry so much.
Our bodies are SO MUCH MORE than the surface reflection.
The next time you look in the mirror, my challenge to you if you accept it, is to look beyond the surface.
Contemplate YOUR body’s story and what you GAINED to be in the body you’re in today.
With patience and practice, I hope you grow into a more empowered and accepting relationship with both your body and the mirror.