Making Peace With the Mirror

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Over the weekend my 8-year-old daughter went to a birthday party. Before leaving for the party, she looked in the mirror, quite pleased with her reflection. She smiled at herself and joyfully listed off all the friends she would see and the cake she would eat.

My daughter's moment in the mirror was such a gift to observe. As a mother of two girls, I often hold my breath, anxious for the moment when they look in the mirror and express dissatisfaction. This was not that moment -- it was quite the opposite and "mirrored" for me what I learned in my personal eating disorder journey:

Once I gave myself permission to stop picking a part my body, mirrors taught me to notice what's possible when we look past ourselves and observe all we are connected to.

Here's what I mean: Next time you look in a mirror, pause, take a breath, and study the reflection for what else it can show you. See yourself in relation to the world behind you. Appreciate colors, shapes, nature, architecture, people, memories, or the beauty of light. In that moment, you are recognizing yourself as part of the whole, and that's a very healing moment.

Apply the same idea when you look at pictures of yourself. Rather than stay stuck in picking apart your body, notice other elements in the picture. Connect with the memory of the experience—the sounds, sights, and people you were with.

How would giving yourself permission to see yourself as part of the whole rather than a collection of imperpect parts change your relationship with your body?

I invite you to reflect on this question, and feel free to get in touch if you'd like to explore this question more deeply through yoga therapy.