Body Image Eating Disorders Mirror

What a sick society we live in, to place mirrors as the essential “worthy” or “unworthy” decor in every household, restaurant, museum, you name it. Image is everything, or so we’ve all been believing. Yet we have not only been believing, we have been teaching this principle that “image is everything.” Not by our words, not by our advice, but by our own selves falling for the most un-intelligent notion, and by then displaying a personal example for others to follow. We tell others how beautiful they are, not to worry about the opinion of others, to be confident. Yet where do we find ourselves? In front of the next perfectly placed mirror, picking and pulling and straightening and applying, giving ourselves that particular look as the degrading thoughts run through our minds. We are silently demonstrating to anyone around us that this is where we judge ourselves for what we are worth.

Imagine being called fat at the age of four and having no other memory prior to that incident. You, at that delicate age, begin to feel as though something is wrong with you. Time goes on, and you realize, of course something is wrong with you! You are not perfect, you do not meet society’s ideal, shame on you. You begin dieting in elementary school, you starve yourself in middle school, you have no friends, your life is revolved around your thoughts, and your thoughts include nothing but the millions of things you hate and wish to change about yourself. You almost took your own life on three seperate occassions.

That is how I lived my life for years, and you bet I have fought hard to be where I am today, and to have gained the understanding I now have. While visiting Guatemala to teach English, I encountered one of the most maddening realizations about North America: mirrors. Do you know what kind of trouble you have to go to if you want a personal mirror in other countries? Before you get yourself going on “American pride” I want you to think about this reality. Take your thoughts a little deeper. What would the world be like in it’s completely natural state? What would we be like in our completely natural state? Who invented the mirror? Why is it our society places mirrors as necessity? Now, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t look at mirrors occassionally, but you know what I see when I look in the mirror? I see myself. I don’t see all of the imperfections, all the things that people may or may not judge me for, all the things that bother me if I look too hard and too closely. I see me in my wholeness, as an individual, who is full of potential and in search of inspiration. I am not searching to be someone else, I am not searching to find something wrong with me, I am not searching the world for the next-best degrading influence on my life.

It would take multiple books to share what I’ve done to change my way of thinking entirely. However, there are a few things I would like to share with anyone who wants life to have real meaning for them. I believe these millions of thoughts that have been ingrained in people’s minds and passed on generation after generation, are not our faults for having them ingrained in our minds. Yet it becomes a personal fault if we are aware that these beliefs are untrue and wrong, and if we continue passing them on, rather than standing strong and fighting for our sanity and for our life. We are fighting for our beautiful minds, which have no place for degradation, yet have limitless capacity for growth and knowledge.

As key, I first recommend making a list of everything you hate about yourself: your looks, your abilities, your habits. Once you are complete with the list, look it over, make sure you have included the things you think about on a daily basis. Take a deep breath . . . Now rip the piece of paper into as many pieces as you possibly can. Once this step is completed, step on the pieces, burn the pieces, whatever feels good to you.

Next, something that will have a greater benefit to your mind that you’d think is making a “maybe” list. Think of everything you wish you were: Beautiful? Smart? Good at math? A good friend? A talented musician? Whatever it is you doubt about yourself, or don’t think you are capable of being, write a maybe in front of. “Maybe: I am beautiful.” “Maybe I am smart.” “Maybe I am good at math.” And you know what happens? You are allowing yourself the use of faith, and you are realizing that you can hold these beliefs. Maybe math will never click for you, but you are believing that maybe you could be good at math, you are unwrapping the potential you’ve buried through all of the self-degradation. Now, you can start to hold yourself accountable for what you are worth, and realize you truly can be any version of yourself you desire.

Another important key in overcoming the power of “the image in the mirror” is to stop comparing yourself to others. Do you ever think about yourself in comparison to another person who you view as “better” than you? But you would never admit to anyone that you’ve had these thoughts? Write them down, all of them. All of these self-degrading thoughts you may be ashamed of having need to get out of your system for some fresh air. Once you write these thoughts down, rip the piece of paper up and trash it. Comparing yourself to people, whether they are a sibling or a supermodel, will never get you anywhere in life, and we all know this truth. Admitting to these facts is the hardest, yet most important part in ridding our minds from the deceit we’ve naturally been taught to believe.

I promise, if you at least do these three things, and realize you are way more intelligent than to fall for such skewed beliefs, you will feel invigorated. You will have the strength to see who you are capable of being, and will finally be able to place genuine value on yourself. Psychology and emotions go hand in hand, yet it’s the mind, as well as the habits you get into, that determine who you truly are. Only you can allow yourself to be affected by the things which surround you.