Mind-Body Health

Clean Your Mirror: Looking at Yourself and Accepting Who You See

Girl in field with mirror

It’s time to shatter the ideas of self-criticism and begin to accept, respect, and celebrate who you see standing in the mirror today. Here is how you can become the best version of yourself.

Are you quick to pass over the great things that you have achieved throughout your life? When you share your stories with supportive friends and family, do they typically celebrate each conquered hurdle, no matter the size? Maybe you tend to downplay your accomplishments and see them as just another ordinary day. Though when the tables are turned, do you find it easy to rejoice and celebrate others for all that they’ve overcome and accomplished?

So the question is, why are you so reluctant to celebrate your accomplishments in the same way you do for your friends and family? The answer: you need to clean your mirror.

Accepting Yourself When You Look in the Mirror

It’s easy for you to look in the mirror and immediately become critical of who you see looking back. I assure you that even those who you believe perfectly encapsulate confidence have moments of criticism and self-doubt. You are unknowingly so critical of your physical and psychological reflections that you start blurring the line between healthy standards and unrealistic expectations of yourself.

While setting goals and holding yourself to certain standards can be beneficial for growth, it is extremely important to first accept yourself for who you are today. If you are too quick to change yourself then you are missing out on the beauty of your personal journey. Practicing acceptance is ultimately giving yourself permission to embrace the person you are today and to continue to grow and enhance those strengths. If you don’t take the time to accept yourself as you are, then you are pushing aside all of the hard work and progress that you have already made in order to stand where you are today. Once you’ve accepted yourself, you can open your mind to new experiences, to your next adventure, and to supporting others on their own journey.

As a personal trainer, I have seen the effectiveness of both acceptance and goal setting. I’ve watched as most goals typically start off as tangible and eventually evolve into a personal goal aimed toward improving your overall well-being. Once this shift happens, this is typically when I start to see clients gain more confidence in themselves.

The more you focus on improving your emotional and mental well-being, the clearer it is to see failures and imperfections as a means of growth, not as a defect. Your thoughts are powerful. Your thoughts determine who stares back at you in your reflection. The best way to start cleaning your mirror is to take the time to understand and appreciate yourself from the inside out. Here are some ways to help increase your self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall well-being.

Practice Speaking Positive Affirmations

There is a difference between arrogance and encouragement when it comes to positive self-talk. The point of this is not to convince yourself that you are better than everyone else; the goal is to remind yourself that you are capable and worthy of all things good.

Try Visualization

This is a powerful tool often utilized within meditation. Imagining your happiest or ideal self can help to better understand what you value in life. Taking the time to prepare yourself for potential obstacles gives you the opportunity to start thinking critically about how to realistically achieve your goals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

The more you challenge and step out of your comfort zone, the more resilient and appreciative you become of your mind, body, and spirit. You were not made to be perfect; you were made to make mistakes and learn from them.

Celebrate the Little Things

It’s easy to become so focused on the end goal that you often ignore or overlook the daily achievements that help you get there. Taking the time to note the little things, which come around a lot more often than the larger goals, reminds you to stay present. It’s the little things that help shape you into the person you are today, and those are the moments that need to be celebrated.

Stop Viewing Your Imperfections as a Hindrance

This is the biggest step you can take when it comes to “cleaning your mirror.” What you view as an imperfection can actually be your biggest strength.

During job interviews, one of the most popular questions is “What is your greatest weakness?” The point of this question is to evaluate your self-awareness, to know if you can separate your strengths from the areas that could use improvement. Your imperfections only become weaknesses if you choose to view them as such, but you have the power to approach them as a means of becoming an even stronger version of yourself.

My mirror has some scratches and a couple of cracks in it, but that doesn’t make my reflection imperfect. The more time I’ve taken to understand myself, the more accepting I’ve become of my own reflection. While it’s great to have friends and family cheering you on, you have to remember that your success and well-being is dependent on how you choose to view and carry yourself daily. I think it’s time that you abandon the common phrase “You are your own worst critic,” and remember to clean your mirror; start being your loudest supporter.