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Body Image Has Nothing To Do with the Mirror

This is just a reminder that the way you see your body is influenced by SO many things: how you feel physically, emotionally, what you are wearing, what kind of day you have had, week you have had, your self-talk, your self-esteem....

When we aren't feeling so great emotionally, we see our body through that same lens, and end up not feeling so great about what we see, either. We tend to focus on certain body parts, zooming in on them in photos or fixating in the mirror. We do this because the brain likes to feel congruent: "if I feel bad on the inside, it makes sense to appear undesirable on the outside, too." The brain will twist what you see to make it congruent with how you feel.

This is of course an over-simplification of a very complex topic, but my intention is to offer perspective into how much body image is driven by emotional factors. We feel bad, we look in the mirror and feel worse, which makes us feel bad... it's a cycle.

So the next time you find yourself evaluating your appearance in the mirror or in a photo, get curious instead of judgmental: ask yourself questions like:

  • How am I feeling in this moment, emotionally?

  • How was my day?

  • What factors contributed to how I am feeling in the moment?

  • Based on how I am feeling, what do I need?

  • Would I say the things I'm thinking about myself out loud to someone else?

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