I love watching my kids study themselves in our mirrored closet doors. But I startled myself the other day when I caught a glimpse of the joy on my face as I watched the song-and-dance Miss Thang was putting on for herself. Then all too quickly I started wondering:
When will this end for her? When will she stop liking what she sees in the mirror? When will she… become like me?
I haven’t liked to look at myself in the mirror for a very long time. Sure, I use it every day to put on my face and complete basic hygiene. Sometimes I even use it to make sure I don’t look like a complete hobo when I leave the house. But mostly the mirror is a place where I see all of my flaws: the dark spots on my face from too much sun and neglect; the stretch marks from a lifetime of yo-yo dieting; rounded shoulders from
loathing not appreciating my tallness over the years; among many (so many!) others.
This especially plagued me as an aspiring dancer in high school. For someone who didn’t like looking at herself, I spent a lot of time in a room whose walls were covered with mirrors, looking somewhere just past myself. I looked at everyone else, but good heavens not me. So I never really knew what I looked like executing the steps and movements. I would only correct when I was told by the instructor, taking the quickest of glances possible at my form. Never would I actually study myself of my own volition. Thank goodness for muscle memory.
I’m not saying I want my kids to fall down some rabbit hole where they are all-consumed by vanity. I just want them to be as comfortable with who they are on the outside as the inside. So I suppose it’s time to, as they say, put up or shut up for their benefit, so that I am a positive role model, rather than a cautionary tale.
I have long resided in the fake-it-‘til-you-make it camp in all matters of confidence. What are some ways that you keep your self-esteem healthy?