Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Encouragement for When It’s Hard to Look in the Mirror

The Evil Queen swishes her flowing cape aside and stands before the large golden mirror.  Eerie music rises in the background and the stone room darkens.  Her jealousy seething, she commands the Magic Mirror with “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” Unfortunately for Snow White, the mirror cannot lie and he lets the Queen know that she ain’t it.
There’s probably a bit of Evil Queen in every woman as we have an inborn desire to be admired, but no where does it show up bigger than in our own self.  Somehow we never quite measure up to our own standards, and this insecurity leads us to buy potions and eat apples.  It can also cause us to either avoid mirrors or consult them too frequently.
I’ve had my own issues with mirrors, not all of them bad:
Avoiding Mirrors
When I weighed 258 pounds and wore a size 22W, I mostly avoided mirrors (and being in photos, which is sort of a permanent mirror).  Sure, I looked in the mirror to do my makeup and hair, but I undressed in the closet or away from the mirror.  It was my way of denying the shape I was in, and avoiding having to deal with it.  For many years I wasn’t in a place emotionally to deal with it, so the denial served its purpose.   But there were those painful moments when I caught a glimpse of myself in a store window reflection or dressing room mirror.
Looking Away from the Mirror
Enter T-Tapp.  Actually wearing shorts and form-fitting clothing to work out.  It was hard at first, but I got used to the sight.  But when it came to body brushing, that’s where I drew the line.  Or rather my husband drew the line for me.  When I brushed in front of a mirror (you know, lifting things to brush), I would get so discouraged and critical of myself that he asked me to stop brushing in front of a mirror.  He said that was the only bad thing about T-Tapp—I was now paying attention to every little bump and wrinkle.  I respected his wishes and it really did help.  I still brushed, but without the full view.
Using a Mirror as a Tool
My bedroom is configured with a sink area and large mirror in a small alcove, so I always had a mirror in which to check form.  If I T-Tapped in the den, I checked my reflection in the glass of a large framed print.  The mirror was especially helpful for checking things like whether I was in a flat back, whether my arms were truly straight, and a myriad of other form issues.  If I had not had a built-in mirror, I would have bought a cheap back-of-the-door mirror and propped it up for workouts, then slid it under the bed or couch or stuck it in a closet between sessions.
The Woman in the Mirror
Here’s where the mirror meets the road.  No matter what size or age you are, learn to love yourself even in the mirror.  Looking at yourself with disgust or discouragement does not lead to good things.  Everyone has physical attributes that they wish they could change about themselves.  How about focusing on the things you DO like about yourself?  Make the most of what you have.  Practice gratefulness every day for the functioning of your body.  You’re breathing.  You may have had babies.  You can walk.  Your eyes sparkle.  Living in gratefulness and grace for oneself breeds beauty and peace.  There they are again, those thoughts.  I daresay that true and lovely thoughts show up in your face.  They are like magnets for truth and loveliness.
It wasn’t Snow White’s fault that the Magic Mirror decreed her the loveliest in the land.  The Evil Queen was actually very beautiful physically.  It was her ugly attitude and all-consuming self-focus that marred her beauty.  Those who worry most about themselves soon find that others don’t worry about them at all.  After smiling at ourselves in the mirror, let’s look away from it and serve others.  In doing so, your reflection in the mirror will grow more lovely each day.