Mirror Mirror

The quest for simplistic happiness is a never ending pursuit for many of us. We read self-improvement books, attend guru-lead conferences, learn to meditate, make don’t sweat the small stuff a mantra, and yet that inner peace still eludes us. Well I’ve figured out the key to removing at least 50% of our daily stress. Stop looking in the mirror!

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Sounds silly, but let us not forget Narcissus who lost his ability to sustain his life after being unable to pull himself away from his own reflection in the river. How many times a day to you check your teeth, hair, makeup, clothes, etc? More importantly how many times does your reflection change your mood? I have come to realize that there’s a lot of daily negative emotions that are borne from what we see in mirrors.

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On any given day a woman’s mood can be tarnished if they think their hair isn’t looking up to snuff. Passing by a mirror you catch a glimpse of your butt or tummy and immediately fall into a funk because you’re “still not thin enough.” When you look at your reflection do you shrug dejectedly because you don’t like the way you look, or do you smile more radiantly because that self-check just responded back with approval. How much power can we give one polished piece of glass?

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Even the popular trend of selfies is still “looking in the mirror.” Pursing your lips to make your cheeks thinner and your lips fuller; changing the angle of the photo to catch your “better side.” It’s all so silly and so wasteful of our time and energy.

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Have you ever been so busy that you haven’t looked at your reflection in several hours. Your day is speeding by, your mood and energy are up and focused. Then you finally happen into the restroom or home to your closet to change and BAM it hits you. Like Narcissus you stare in the mirror and are horrified to see your hairstyle has flattened, you’ve got stuff in your teeth, or a stain on your shirt. That little moment can ruin all the success of your day.

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I have known a few people who are so discouraged by their appearance they avoid mirrors and photographs at all costs. While they may not suffer the little insults the mirror hands out to those of us who love analyzing our reflection, they still have issues with the idea behind a mirror. To avoid one is still negatively time consuming.

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Another detrimental aspect of all this mirror gazing is that each subsequent generation picks up the narcissistic habit.  My young daughter has asked me a full-length mirror and I’ve not complied.  Her self-esteem is going to be tested enough come middle and high school, she doesn’t need to get that self-obsessed yet.

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The bottom line is mirrors are a useful tool but they have no power – except what you the user give them. Sure we all want to walk out of the house feeling comfortable with the external package we present. But remember that a mirror cannot change the way you feel. Only your reaction to it can. So if what you see is causing you angst – make sure there’s a real problem to be dealt with (i.e., dental floss or tucking in your shirt) – but don’t let it be a downer. If the problem is larger (i.e., fat loss, acne, bad hair cut) – be proactive and focus on solving the issue, not just lamenting that the damn mirror isn’t your friend. Take your power back – you’ll be less stressed and find more happiness if you just stop checking the mirror.

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