Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror? What do you see? What are your thoughts, your emotions, when you look at yourself?
I was born with horrible eyesight, but nobody knew or detected it until I was six years old. My entire life thus far I had not known what things around me looked like, what my family looked like, or what I looked like. I had gotten accustomed to getting around using my other senses, and I believe I had developed my “sixth sense” fairly strongly by then.
I did not know myself by my looks. My appearance was not tied to my image of myself, people, or things. It had nothing to do with what they looked like, but simply by what they felt like.
When I was six I got a pair of super thick, round, odd looking glasses. I could see! It was like re-discovering the world. I found that I didn’t change my image of other people, or things – they stayed in my perception as “energy,” or “feel.” The only image that changed was my image of myself.
However, this did not happen until I understood what other people thought of me, and my appearance.
Apparently, thick glasses were an excellent reason to be bullied and picked on, and certainly no reason to be deemed as cool, attractive, or even interesting.
This caused a certain amount of confusion in my young mind, as I still did not perceive people by their looks or appearances, but by their energy. I developed a low self esteem, a bunch of insecurities, and a resentment towards what I felt was superficial people.
Eleven years later, I had turned seventeen, and decided to get contact lenses. Another shock, as I saw myself without glasses for the first time! I both enjoyed and resented how people were now viewing me differently, for nothing had changed about the way I viewed myself. In my head, I was then, and will forever be, the girl with the thick glasses.
To the outside world, I was now looking increasingly “good” by the societal standard, being six feet tall, kind of slim and somewhat fit, and with no glasses apparently my eyes weren’t that bad either.
A part of me still carries an enormous amount of anger towards society and it’s view of beauty. How people are supposed to look a certain way, and how people are so easily labeled by what they look like (now, I also happen to believe that labeling is both natural and sometimes desired by most people, but that is for another blog).
I think it is of the utmost importance to teach our kids (and ourselves), to identify themselves and others, not by the way they look, but by the way they “feel.” Perhaps a good exercise would be to remove all mirrors from the house? Or perhaps put sticky notes next to every mirror, saying “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL,” “I LOVE YOU,” and “WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL IN A UNIQUE WAY.”
Laugh it off, call it “hippie,” or whatever you want. Coming from someone who’s had it with people’s cruelty to each other, we are all way better off being nice to each other and ourselves.
This post can also be found at our family’s blog site Solgave!