What do you see when you see yourself in the mirror? Do you see yourself as perfect? Beautiful? Good looking? Stunning? Drop dead gorgeous?
More often than not, the answer to this question will be am emphatic ‘Hell No!!’
In fact, it is virtually impossible to look at yourself without finding any faults in your own appearance.
How often do we say this to ourselves?
If only I were thinner….
If only I were fairer…..
If only I was taller…..
If only my nose was straighter……
If only my hair was thicker…….
We are almost never content with the image that we see in the mirror.
And that’s how the image cycle begins.
It starts from your own ‘self – image’.
Self – image is how you perceive yourself. It is a number of self impressions that have built up over a period of time. The process begins from the time you are born and continues over your lifetime.
What you see when you look at yourself in the mirror and how you picture yourself is your self-image.
This image can be both positive, giving that person confidence in their thoughts and actions, and as well as negative, making the person doubt ones own capabilities.
And that is the sad part about ones self image. One can almost never outperform that image.
So what exactly do YOU see in the mirror?
Do you value the person staring back at you from the mirror? Do you undervalue and underestimate this person?
It is vital that you raise the value of yourself because trust me, if you don’t , the world will never ever raise it for you.
How you see yourself, dictates the way you present yourself to the world. Which means, that it affects how you dress, how you behave and how you communicate through your body language.
The world sees this presentation of yourself, and responds to you, based on their perception of you.
Their reaction and response in turn either counters your self-image or reinforces it. And the cycle continues…
So you see, the process of ‘Image-making’ begins from YOU, it is inside out.
Now here comes most challenging part. How does one create a more positive, but a realistic self image ?
Just like all great journeys begin with the first small step, we can embark on this journey by taking small steps to become aware of our own self-image.
Let me share few tips for that are extremely simple and less intimidating. They will guide you to be more aware of your own thoughts and self-talk. A small step towards building a positive and a genuine self image.
1) Be grateful
For starters, begin your day with an acknowledgment of your blessings. Take a moment, a few seconds, to do this before you jump headlong into your hectic day. I like to call it a gratitude prayer. If you cannot think of how to word it, a simple ‘Thank you’ is enough. It’s easy and less intimidating. You can begin by thanking your body for being alive, for being able to see another sunrise, for being able to breathe, walk, eat, run…… simply be grateful that you are alive! Say thank you to your bed, for keeping you warm and cozy. Say thank you to your own self and give yourself a hug! Be creative with your thank you’s, make it fun!
2) Give yourself permission to love yourself.
Beginning from now, promise yourself that every time you look at yourself in the mirror you will ” look “at yourself carefully. I mean really LOOK at yourself. Observe as if you are seeing the person in the mirror for the very first time. Be aware of how you talk to yourself. Make a tally of each positive and each negative thing that comes to your mind when you talk to that person in the mirror. Are you too critical of that person? Is there too much negative self talk happening in your head? Look into those eyes in the mirror and say “I love you”. It may seem weird initially. because it is harder that you think. Just imagine if YOU cannot love yourself unconditionally, how can you expect others to not judge you when they see you? Don’t be so hard on yourself!
3) Introduce one physical activity in your daily routine.
Adapt some form of exercise in your daily regime, preferably in the morning. Find an activity that you look forward to and make a routine out of it. For some, a morning run would be the choice, for others it could be yoga, while some may prefer walking. It really doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you make it a habit.
4) Make a date with nature.
Find time to be with nature. Feel the grass beneath your feet, nurture a plant, look outside your window and admire the trees, clouds or birds. Nature is a great teacher. Remember, we are all apart of this tiny, beautiful blue planet that is spinning around in the galaxy. Admire and appreciate the grandeur of this universe that is supporting us. It helps to look at the bigger picture, gives certain calmness to the mind when we feel unsettled and bogged down with problems. Do try it.
While we start this journey from inside out, we can simultaneously start the journey from outside in.
The image that you will project as the outcome of these ongoing journeys, will be a true, positive and an absolutely genuine one of yourself.
More about this in my next write-up.
Till then, stay happy, healthy and positive!
Its been a while since I wrote to you. There are so many things that I want share with you. The words are all there in my head but sometimes, life and priorities take over. Hence the delay in writing to you.
I hope you find these musings of mine helpful. I would love to know your feedback. Especially if you want to discuss a certain topic in detail.
Can’t wait to hear from you.