A mirror is one typical piece of furniture found in every bedroom, bathroom and living room.
It is so readily available that our conscious minds ignore this standard item. Unfortunately, the behaviours that we ignore may become compulsive habits. These actions stem from the unconscious and could lead us to act restrained.
When you have an opportunity to look in the mirror and see your reflection, you unconsciously assess yourself. In theory, every time you look in the mirror, you give your unconscious mind a new frame of reference. You record your looks, reinforcing the image of how you think you’ll appear when you act out different activities.
Self-consciousness, Self-image, Self-talk, and Self-worth
Self-consciousness often replays in your mind as a third person point-of-view video of how you look in the present. As you increase your awareness of how you look, your self-image becomes more vivid and difficult to ignore. This may prevent you from being free in your actions.
When you combine self-image and self-talk, whether or not it is positive or negative, you reinforce the psychological connection between external appearance and self-worth. If you hear praise, you increase your perception of self-worth. Although you boost your self-worth and self-esteem, the arrangement of your flesh does not equate to your individual worth.
Unfortunately, negative self-talk, when criticising your face or body, may cause extreme damage to self-confidence. The mental link between appearance and self-worth will attack you based on your false precept.
This is only natural to us humans because we expose ourselves to advertisements of people with “flawless” exteriors. Companies pay millions of dollars just to study what psychologically drives us to desire a certain look. Once that desire is in us, we do our best to conform to what is “beautiful” by updating our mental image of our external appearance.
A Quick Glance of Freedom
In a study by Katja Windheim and her fellow researchers, they discovered that staring in the mirror for extended periods increased signs of anxiety and distress in healthy people who would have otherwise been satisfied with their appearance.
We don’t need to look in the mirror every minute. A quick glance in the bathroom twice or thrice a day doesn’t cause any harm. In the rare instances, you don’t see yourself, believe that people around you are comfortable enough to talk to you. If you have pressing insecurities about yourself, it’s best to ask someone close to you to tell you how comfortable they are around you.
For you to feel truly free, try lessening the times you look at yourself in the mirror. Try going mirrorless for five straight days, only looking at yourself when necessary. If you have a huge mirror in your room, cover it up. Once you turn your attention toward the world around you, you will realise there’s so much more to life than personal appearance.
Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., D.A.B.P.S., C.Ht