I was FaceTiming my daughter and her friend yesterday. Now, I am not that proficient with FaceTime 🙂 but I do know that I need to flip the camera from looking at me…to looking out. While I was in the process of doing the ‘flip’ I said ‘Oh, you don’t want to look at me, I’m boring’. They laughed and we carried on. But, I have been thinking about that comment ever since.
I am not an overly critical person as it comes to appearances. I don’t spend my time looking for areas of physical criticism. Whether that be the way a person is dressed or what they look like. I do notice an exceptionally well dressed person. Or a cute outfit. I also notice a person who has trouble walking or moving. Aside from that….not so much.
I use the mirror as a means to an end.
Do I have toothpaste on my face? Is there broccoli in my teeth? Are my glasses crooked? Does my hair stick up enough? Do I need to pluck my eyebrows? I have never examined myself in the mirror with the sole purpose of looking for flaws or to admire how awesome I am. (When I was in high school a girl I knew carried a hair brush in her back pocket, and whenever she passed a window, she would pause….admire….and then brush her hair – oh my gosh!). But yesterday, I went to the mirror and took a long and critical look….and said to myself ‘I am happy I don’t have to look at me all day’. Now, what is up with that?!
So, why am I telling you all of this?
Well, yesterday it hit me, that I must not like the way I look, or the way I am aging. I never thought about it before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful that God has allowed me to live this long. And, I hope and pray that I live a lot longer. But, as my husband says ‘Getting old ain’t for sissies!’ The sagging eyelids (why even wear mascara). The wrinkles. The double chin. The weird eyebrows. The thin lips. The age spots! The weird earlobes (what is up with that)! And that’s just the face! What about the new found spider veins on my legs or the saggy skin? Or the belly that just wont’t get smaller no matter what I do. Sheesh. It’s a never ending list of ‘Who am I and how did this happen?’
It’s been interesting –
All of this new found ‘self’ information has been interesting. I knew I didn’t like pictures of myself. But never thought about why. So, I took a look at a few recent ones to try and discover the why. Was it for all the reasons I listed above? Or something different? Are they really bad pics or just my perception – am I comparing how I look now to my younger years? What does all of this mean? Have I learned anything? Have I come to any conclusions? And the answer is…..I really am not sure. Our bodies begin to age the minute we are born. Everyone has a finite number of days to live. Some lives end way too soon. Others, who are suffering physically, not soon enough. Why am I looking in the mirror and wondering? Criticizing? Comparing? What do I hope to learn…or see?
What have I learned about myself?
There is a passage in scripture that says ‘I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances’. Learned is the BIG key word here. Contentment does not come naturally. Again, I am grateful for all that I have. I am healthy. I take no meds. I have an amazing family and husband. I am living the dream….for real. I am blessed beyond words. So, I have decided, that when I look in the mirror, I will be grateful for what I see. To not be overly critical. To accept the changes for what they are….the aging process (that some people never get to experience). To embrace the experience – not lament the past and wish things were different. I will check for broccoli, toothpaste, spiked hair and move on.
(I also realized that when I looked in the mirror yesterday I had not combed my hair or put on makeup. Morning face….the worst. I will also not take selfies anymore. They are just the awful for me. That close up angle is not a good combo with my chin. ;))
And, it’s ok to look like my mom. I love my mom and am so grateful she is still on this earth with me. I love looking at her. And, I am sure that my family loves looking at me. Even in the morning. And I know for a fact that God loves me. He even knows how many hairs are on my head. How cool is that! (He is so into the details!)
So, what about you?
It does not matter if you are younger…older…or everything in between. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you satisfied with what you see? Happy? Or do you cringe? Do you wish you were younger? Do you wish you could afford botox? Plastic surgery? Hate those freckles?
I would like to encourage you to see yourself thru a different lens. The lens of contentment. The lens of family and friends who love you. The lens of acceptance. The lens of gratefulness. The lens of aging. The lens of being alive. We can’t change the past or the future. But, we can manage our expectations of what is to come. Embrace the process and live with the glass half full – never empty. And, always, I repeat – always live your life victoriously.
PS – Since I am baring my soul here 🙂 – the worst for me is the hairdresser. That black cape tight around my neck and looking at myself for hours……good thing I have to take my glasses off. haha
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Love love love! Thankful for your vulnerability in sharing and for encouraging us to see ourselves through the lens of joy and acceptance. By the way, when I look at you, I’ve only ever smiled and been thankful that you’re my mama.
I avoid FaceTiming -always. I only Skype with my BFF and try to not look at my own face block. In my head I still look like I did in my 30s (I just applied for Medicare – WHAT!?!?) so a real image of myself is shocking. My mother’s face stares back at me. I think “this is the me that people see – and they think I’m still gorgeous.” So I try to believe them – yeah, let’s go with that. Your message is loud and clear and resonates with me. Thanks for the uplift to be more kind with myself. I’m gonna work on that.
This is so true, Jane!! Last Sunday…at my daughter’s bridal shower, I wore earrings that I wore 30 years earlier….my youngest daughter had a picture of me from back then, with those earrings on…so she took the same picture of me with them on…I cringed!!! I said, “please don’t post that”! Who wants to see a 30 year comparison? That was right before my beautiful mom past away and now I think..hey..post away…for all the reasons you have stated! ❤️
I am so sad that your mom just died. Big Hugs
Thank you so much, Jane, for your perspective!!! Such a good reminder! I hardly ever like pictures of me, but a few weeks ago on Mother’s Day, my middle daughter took a selfie of her & me together. I told her, "I really like that picture!" All the reasons you give in your blog post are all the reasons I usually don’t like pictures of myself. When my youngest daughter face times me for her 2 year old son to talk to "Dranma" (Grandma), he wants to see my face! So sweet & such a reminder of how others see us…special to them. My Mom is 89 years old, & I’m so glad she’s still around for me to see & talk to. I’ve always looked like her, & I don’t mind at all. Thanks again, for the great reminder to love ourselves as God & others love us.
I was so excited to read your blog when I got the email…..for someone who has self loathed since struggling with my weight…until I got to the following section.
"I am not an overly critical person as it comes to appearances. (Except when it comes to leggings. Why should I be subjected to everyone else’s jiggle? A rant for another day). I don’t spend my time looking for areas of physical criticism."
Sounds to me you like you do. It’s a shame…because the rest of the article had some good points.
6 Comments on What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?