The Mirror Lies

A few years ago, I went on a seven-day kayak trip on the Peace River and, I hesitate to admit, I barely did any personal hygiene. I had a bath in the river once, on a particularly hot day, and I think I washed my face once a day… It was a wilderness trip, so how I looked was not on my mind.

I had an amazing time on that trip, and when I finished, I had an new image of myself in my mind. I was a blonde-haired, fit, vibrant, healthy — lithe, even — kayaking goddess! Imagine my surprise when I looked in a mirror again and saw that I really hadn’t changed. I was sure that seven days on the water had changed me, but it did so in deep, personal ways, not physical ones. It took me a little time to get over that identity crisis. So where was the problem — with the mirror, or with me? I think it’s the mirror. Everyone knows that mirrors lie.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, you don’t see your real self. Most of the time, you can only see parts of your self. You focus on a blemish. You see wrinkles or discoloured skin. If you try to expand your view, you might be able to see your whole face, but it still isn’t the real you.

Don’t you find that when you look at yourself in a mirror, you are being analytical? As a result, you don’t have the spark of life in your eye, so you look dead… unhappy… and, well, analytical.

It’s universally true that the thoughts you are thinking show up on your face. In real life, when you are enjoying yourself, having fun with friends or doing something that makes you feel good, you look completely different than you do in the mirror. You look beautiful. You look amazing!

Now suppose you have a full-length mirror. If you stand very far away from it, and quickly glance at yourself, you might be able to get a clue about what you really look like. But if you just stand in front of it, looking yourself up and down, that’s not accurate either. We are always in motion and we don’t just stand face-on to a person and let them look us up and down very often!

We behave in front of mirrors like models in front of a camera. But we aren’t models! We are regular people, and we are fantastic! Thank goodness we aren’t models, being judged on every square inch of our bodies… although even models have to have a brain in their heads. I watched “America’s Next Top Model” a few times, and one thing I took away from the show was that there is more thinking involved in modelling than I thought, and being pretty wasn’t enough. The girls had to make up a facial expression that had some meaning to it — just like Zoolander! 🙂 Magnum.

So, it’s definitely true that mirrors lie. They don’t depict what you really look like to other people. They don’t show you in motion, and they don’t show you happy and relaxed, unless you make a special effort to be that way in front of a mirror. They don’t show you the spark of life, the spring in your step and the smile you have by way of welcoming others. So don’t believe what you see in the mirror!

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that for now. 🙂 Keep your chin up!

Related Post (from my other blog): See Your Beauty
Photo from this great post: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall