The Mirror Has Two Faces

Mirrors. Bane of most people’s existence, yes? Agreed. Not only do I have a damaged relationship with the mirror, I may or may not have the world’s worst full-length mirror. It’s so bad that other people comment on it. Nowadays, I’ve got it partially obscured with pictures and quotes that distract me. It doesn’t help much, but it at least makes me feel proactive.

Anyhow. I wanted to write today after reading a friend’s post on body dysmorphia. I think it’s something that affects most people in some way or another, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. You still see what you see, regardless.

I always assumed I was a little off in how I saw myself. I remember looking in the mirror, seeing my bones sticking out, seeing my clothes hanging off me, and still being convinced I was the same size I’d been number of pounds ago. I knew it wasn’t logically right, but I really couldn’t believe that my brain could be that far away from reality.

When I was in the hospital in my teens, they did an exercise with us that, while it didn’t make the dysmorphia go away, definitely showed me how wrong my brain was.

  1. Get a large piece of paper, at least 3 feet by 6 feet. We did it with the paper taped to a wall. I don’t think it works quite as well with the paper on the floor, but it’ll do in a pinch.
  2. Draw an outline of what you believe your body to look like.
  3. Stand (or lie) in front of your outline, and have a friend trace your actual outline.
  4. Stand back and be amazed.

I did my best to draw exactly what I saw. I was convinced that I was bang on the money, even a little on the small side in some places. The actual reality shocked me. I was at least 6 inches off the mark in my torso and hips, and my arms and legs were probably double their actual size. I was almost right with my height . . .

It doesn’t make me see things any differently, but it’s nice to know that what I see is wrong. I don’t know if it will help anyone else out there, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Just remember: there’s a chance that what bothers you isn’t what’s on the outside, but what you’re missing on the inside. If you can dedicate hours a week (day?) to fixing your body in the gym, don’t you owe your insides the same chance?

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Tips and Tricks (The Healthy Kind)

4 responses to “The Mirror Has Two Faces

  1. Thank you for this. The tricks we play on ourselves, eh? Sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.

  2. My full length mirror is totally warped. But the mirror in my brain adds 40 pounds to my body. Sometimes I get the real thing and I stare in the mirror, because I’m afraid if I look away and look back, I’ll see the other me. Something unreal. I finally got fed up in my recovery of looking at myself. I can’t take it. Dictating my day. So, I turned my mirror around to face the wall. It lies anyway. I do look at pictures of myself sometimes…pictures from when I was a healthy weight. I don’t think I look fat. So, why do I feel fat in the process of gaining that weight back? I look at pictures now. I think I look a little too thin. But it’s not what I see in the mirror. Very odd. I wish my brain would make up it’s mind.

    • I can totally relate to your mirror issues. I can remember in a dance one day, over the course of a 90 minute class, every time I looked in the mirror, I was a different weight. It was insanity. It’s so rare when I get a “real” glimpse that I never want to look in a mirror again afterwards. I recently saw a picture of myself (in dance wear) and in the picture I’m a good 6 inches smaller than I am in the mirror. It helps to remember that, but it’s really frustrating in the meantime. Kudos to you for keeping at it. It’s never easy.

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