It’s January. So unless you have hacked the algorithm or concealed that you are a mom from the social media gods, you have probably been pushed a lot of looks-related content and self-improvement on your various feeds. The unspoken expectations and pressures around what we see in the mirror and what we should see become very visible this time of year. The struggle is real when it comes to figuring out what to do with all that pressure, and it has been so easy for me in the past to get swept up in resolutions and challenges that were pushed at me for what a new year was supposed to look like, instead of what I actually needed.
I have had a lot of conversations about what we see in the mirror lately that have made me really think about my relationship to my own reflection. A friend of mine is making a resolution to go all of January covering up the mirrors in her home and pledging not to use the selfie camera on her phone for a month. She is trying to practice body neutrality and wants to see how she feels at the end of one month before deciding if she’d like to continue the practice. I have another friend celebrating a bathroom remodel and that she finally has a full length mirror that doesn’t distort what she’s wearing the way her old mirror did. I have had dance parties with my kids to Justin Timberlake’s hit song Mirrors. And I also had a little talk with my daughter about a handheld mirror she got for Christmas, which was the inspiration for this post.
A day after Christmas, I found my oldest asking me if I could show her how to clean the princess vanity she received as a gift. The exact words she said stunned me, “my mirror is dirty, so I can’t see how wonderful I know I am.” I cracked up at her boldness, and then realized I kind of yearned for that incredible confidence! Odds are good if I see myself at a distance in a smudged mirror I assume I have something on my face, and it isn’t until I get closer that I see it is the mirror that is smudged, not me. I don’t think I’m alone in this. What we see in the mirror (whether that be a literal mirror or the mirror of our brains or society) is so often not what we actually look like but smudged or distorted or at the very least flipped around (a mirror image!) and thanks to my daughter’s comment, I want to work each day on knowing that if the mirror is dirty it doesn’t change how awesome I am. It just means it is time to clean and refocus the mirror… or maybe even ignore it for a bit and turn up the Justin Timberlake.