I asked my husband if guys do this thing where they look in the mirror, find a flaw and then say out loud to a nearby friend, “These bags under my eyes are massive.”
And then the friend says, “Oh, that is nothing. You look amazing. Check out these wrinkles!!” The conversation pattern goes like this: Self berating flaw talk met with earnest denial and one-upping of the flaw by the listener, followed by a sharing of various remedies, cremes, procedures and supplements that could magic away the perceived flaws for all parties involved. It is irresistible to be drawn into this exchange.
He said, “No, that is weird.”
Yep, it is weird. But, you all know what I am talking about, right? So, I was in one of these exchanges. Actually, I was in a series of these exchanges, this week. They usually end up with me saying,
“Well, it’s the fat that smooths out my wrinkles.”
In an attempt to deflect a friend saying that I have perfectly smooth skin. And in the midst of this interaction of each of us trying to convince the other she is gorgeous perfection. I wonder, why do we do this dance? And I’m not talking about socialization or societal pressure or self-esteem issues– all the background why of airbrushed photographs and expectations of beauty. But, why do my intelligent, beautiful, accomplished friends hate on themselves? And I allow it and not only allow it but, join in. Why do I participate? I guess, because I can’t leave my girl out there hanging, thinking she is the worst. I am compelled to join her. As I am hearing her say,
“Lisa, you have perfect skin.” and I am replying, ” Fat people have less wrinkles. Fat is like bottox.” I want to stop. I want to say to my friend,
“What if we skip all the bit in the middle where I announce how flawed I am and go straight to the part where you tell me how lovely I look. Only, I do this for myself?”
But, I don’t say this. I say the bit about the dark circles under my eyes, while making zombie noises. I do come away with a thought, though, that has turned into a challenge, which I will share with you now.
The Mirror Challenge: I intend to meet my reflection with a spirit of friendship. When I look in the mirror this week, instead of vocalizing my flaws, I am going straight to my friend’s side of the conversation. I will find something complementary to say to myself in the mirror.
I’m going to talk to myself and about myself as if I am my friend. Let’s try it together. It may be true that we have some dark circles, or wrinkles. It may be true, my friends, that we are feeling puffy eyed, too hairy, muffin topped or whatever. It is also true that you have eyes the color of the sea, hair of a mermaid, a smile that warms the heart, generosity of spirit, patience of a saint, belly-laugh inducing humor, rose petal cheeks and always know just what to say. So, thank you for helping me find words in the mirror.
Peace & Love