Consider these questions honestly. How do you speak to the reflection in the mirror? When I say you can make peace with the image in the mirror- do you cringe? Or roll your eyes? Do you laugh dismissively when you read suggestions around making peace with your body?
Why is it so difficult to look kindly at the reflection staring back at us? Surely we didn’t always return the gaze with judgement and criticism?
Check out two year old me, staring at my myself:
I doubt in the moment of this picture, that my brain was filled with mean thoughts about the girl staring back at me. Like how round her chin was. Or how full her belly looked.
No- we weren’t born hating the way we look. Sadly, that is something we have learned.
Unfortunately, as soon as we’re born into today’s society, we get messages about bodies being “too big” “too fat” and “too much.” Children watch their parents pour money, time, and energy into efforts to shrink their bodies. Even cartoons, movies, and children’s books are filled with the message that “fat is bad.”
How You Speak to the Image in the Mirror Matters
Now I want you to honestly answer this question:
Would you ever consider speaking to another human the way you speak to yourself when you look in the mirror?
Can you imagine talking to a beloved pet the way you talk to your body? Or to a child you love? Your best friend? If you answered no- it’s time to make some changes.
We all deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion. Especially from ourselves. Unfortunately we aren’t taught this. This isn’t modeled to us. We tend to think we need to beat ourselves up to motivate change.
But consider this- has being judgment, critical, and downright mean to yourself worked so far? I doubt it.
Has calling your body mean names ever helped change your body? Or the way you feel about her? Has hating your body brought any peace of mind?
Most likely the opposite is actually true. Speaking unkindly to ourselves lowers self esteem and confidence. And it leads to poor body image. Which is actually at the root of dieting and disordered eating.
Without addressing body image, we can’t expect to heal our relationships with food. And it IS possible to heal these.
You Can Make Peace with the Image in the Mirror
True freedom from food and body hell comes when we learn to accept ourselves as we are. In this very moment. And when we learn to treat ourselves and our bodies with the same kindness, respect, and dignity that we deserve. That children deserve. That pets deserve. That all living breathing beings deserve.
I challenge you to start today. Think about how you can speak more kindly to that reflection in the mirror.
The way we speak to ourselves matters!
Here’s another great step to make peace with the image in the mirror. Find a picture of yourself at a very young age. Frame and display it somewhere you’ll see it often.
This will remind yourself of your younger self. And help you get in touch with compassion for them. It’ll remind you to begin speaking more kindly to yourself. So that you may start making peace with the refection in the mirror.