Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When I was a teenager, I would stand in the mirror getting ready for the day with my little sisters, 2 and 4 years younger than me, and say, "Oh my gosh. I am SO beautiful. Look at my hair; I have such nice hair. Don't I have beautiful eyes? I am SO pretty!" I thought it was so funny because I would feign seriousness and they would roll their eyes at me. Apparently it became a source of great concern, though, because my mom told me that my youngest sister had come to her, sincerely worried that I was conceited and suggested she should talk to me about it.

My relationship with the mirror is slightly strained these days. For one, I don't have the time to stare at back at my mug. Getting ready is get in, get out, get on with it. But when the hubs is home and I can take my time getting ready, if I stand back to look at myself I might think every now and again, "Oh, I look pretty good today." But then my eyes will wander down to love handles or arms that I wish weren't so flabby and I find myself frustrated so I move quickly out of reflection range and get on with life.

Why are mirrors so powerful? Or why do we allow them to have so much power? They can tell us we're beautiful, ugly, too thin, not thin enough, lacking in some area, bulging in others...but that's only if we let them!

I went through one particularly rough year in high school where I was trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be (I'm sure I'm the only teenager to experience this....) I was extremely lonely and confused and didn't think much of myself. But I was - and am - the praying type so I would often pray to see myself the way that God sees me. One day I was sitting on the floor in front of the full-length mirror in my bedroom, putting on my makeup (because that's how my friend, Cathy, did her makeup and I thought she was really cool.) On this particular day I started to just look at all of the features of my face and quickly came to my eyes. I stared into my eyes for a long time and it suddenly turned very emotional for me. I've heard many times the phrase, "The eyes are the window to the soul" and I am of the belief that we do have souls that lived before and will go on living after we die. Well, I could see and feel my soul at that moment. It was powerful, shocking, and life-changing. I suddenly knew that inside this body of mine was a strong, beautiful, incredible soul and I needed to give her the opportunity to shine. I started to cry, but I did not want to break the gaze. I sat there for a very long time and made promises to myself to live up to my potential, to love me for who I was, and I felt confidence quickly seeping back into my body. I told the girl in the mirror that I loved her...and that felt SO good. I don't know how long I sat there, but it felt like a very long time. Finally I felt like it was okay to turn away from the mirror and I went and told my mom about my experience. That was a defining moment in my life.

I highly recommend this exercise to anyone. We should be able to tell ourselves, "I love you" and really mean it. We should know more about the soul that is housed inside of our bodies and what she/he is capable of. We should be able to look in the mirror and only allow it to be a force for good in our lives. The mirror only has power if you concede yours. Don't give that power up because then all you will see is what you want to change. Look for the complete you next time you look in the mirror. And throw in a few "I love yous" to the person looking back. It's also a good exercise to say - and really believe - that your hair, eyes, and other features are beautiful...even if it makes your sisters roll their eyes. :)


  1. Love your thoughts :) So great that you discovered your worth at such a young age. It took me a lot longer! but better late than never :)

  2. I just love you, Dana. I can totally picture you saying all of that stuff to Adri and Beth and it makes me laugh!
    I am not kidding when I tell you that daily I have to remind myself that I am not defined by what size of clothes I wear. It's hard to believe it, but I know that it is true.

    I read a quote by President Hinckley that said something to the point that if you aren't happy in your life it is because you are thinking too much about yourself. I love that!! Life is much happier when we can love ourselves for who we are and focus more on serving others.

  3. I don't understand why we have so many mirrors. Why are we always looking at ourselves? After a long talk with a friend who is really struggling with her Kindergarten daughter who doesn't want to go to school because she thinks she's ugly, I told her to cover all the mirrors in the house for a while. Believe it or not, societies (households) CAN function without mirrors. Children in Africa live happily without seeing how their hair looks every five minutes.

    I don't have girls, so I can only imagine how difficult it is to teach the importance of taking care of yourself and looking presentable without stressing too much about looking perfect. There is so much emphasis on how we look and not enough on who we are-- how we treat one another and what we DO.

  4. This is unrelated to my previous comment, but one way I learned to appreciate my reflection is by trying to appreciate ALL that my body does for me. It usually treats us so well, despite how we treat it. I wrote more about it HERE.

    Powerful entries and comments Dana! I wish I had more time to be apart of the discussions below!

  5. I am going to make an effort not to look in the mirror as much any more. Sometimes, I will be feeling great about myself until I look in the mirror. Why not just feel great and forget about the mirror, so a better feeling for me.

  6. Your post made me think of a YouTube video my Aunt just shared with me. Here is the link, this gal is pretty amazing-