Tuesday, January 06, 2009

If You Could Only See Yourself As Others Do

For the past year or so, I've been fairly unhappy with my approaching-middle-age-body. I've put on 40+ pounds since I was married 2 1/2 years ago (long story, but hormones are a huge player). I feel like a whale next to my skinny, wiry Ron. I think we look like Jack Sprat and Wife in photos.

So I had this very interesting experience happen to me the other day, while I was buying a new bus pass for Kayla. As I stood at the counter, waiting for someone to bring the pass, I had been looking up at the top shelf of various leftover Christmas items. My eyes caught the sight of a monitor, and I curiously looked at it to see who was being monitored.

I noticed a woman standing there, and the thought came unbidden to my mind, "She's pretty." Nice figure, not too skinny, not too fat. Cute hair.

And then it dawned on me.

It was me I was looking at in the monitor. It was one of those monitors that flip the image around, so the camera will film what is really happening, not a mirror image of things. And since I've only ever seen myself in a mirror image, the recognition of me didn't immediately happen.

I've been thinking ever since. That image in the monitor is how everyone else views me. How I'm really seen by the world. The person who looks back at me from the mirror is only how I see myself.

Since then, I've been reframing my mind to try-- really try-- to see myself as others do. Not just my physical appearance, but also my deeds, actions, and words. I learned a powerful lesson that afternoon-- and am now endeavoring to silence my inner critic that wants me to see what the two-dimensional mirror reflects back. I am far too multi-faceted to confine who I am to the reflection I see every morning.

It is time to break free.


Amber said...

Good girl! I'm very envious of you. I also have put on 40 lbs since I got married 2.5 yrs ago. And I'm sooooo depressed about it. I obsess (sp?) on it all the time. I wish I could just be satisfied with how I look and be thankful that it's not worse. Because it could be sooooo much worse! My husband isn't a huge help. (another long story)
You've inspired me now. Thank you for that!
PS Are you getting a TON of snow? We've gotten like 18" since yesterday! Crazy!

Moannie said...

I know just what you mean. My mum used to have one of those dressing tables with three mirrors and you could swing the side mirrors and see yourself from different angles,I found it fascinating, realising that I was not just the person in the big mirror but also the one in the side mirrors, that that was how I was seen by others.
Those forty pounds will fly away, Jello and if they don't, then there is just more Jello to love.

bfs said...

I empathize totally. I also believe that we are our own worst critics. I wish that we could love ourselves as God loves us. He probably doesn't see the body ~ only the heart.

Grant said...

I'm hoping this post leads to you posting naked pictures of yourself, or at least sexy pics of Asian schoolgirls.

Tara said...

You go girl!
It's usually the other way around. You usually catch sight of your reflection in a shop window and think 'ye gods, who is that mummsy frump?' Or is that just me!

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

It's amazing how differently we see ourselves. Makes me feel crazy sometimes. I can literally look in the mirror, hate what I see, close my eyes for 30 seconds while talking kindly to myself, and then open my eyes and see a lovely woman that I'd like to be. :-)

margie said...

you are SOOOO right. it is time for us all to break free. we are often so hard on ourselves and yet other people see us with much gentler eyes.

MLight said...

Very wise. I have to remind myself of all this.

Rob Clack said...

Now that sounds like a really interesting experience. Way to go!

Suldog said...

Excellent! That's the best way to find yourself - through other's eyes! Good for you to notice the good about yourself!