Just when I think I am suffering from a degree of “random website Facebook sharing exhaustion” that makes me want a break from social media, I see something so moving that I couldn’t help but perpetuate the sharing. I promise that you should take the next three minutes to watch this amazingly inspirational look into how we, as women, see ourselves compared to how those around us see us. Grab your Kleenex!
This video made me ask myself, what do I see when I look in the mirror?
I suppose that, on most days, I see a woman who hasn’t taken the time to style her hair the way she’d like since she became a mother, whose wrinkles are ever more present and remind her that she is in fact a thirty-something, and whose face is rounder and fuller than she ever imagined it would be. I see a woman who can tell you every spot on her body that could use some toning or sucking in or a five pound weight loss. I see a woman who is trying to appear as put together as possible while 32 weeks pregnant, but who actually just looks tired.
And I wonder if my reflection told me what those around me saw, how would it differ from what I see? Because when I look around at the women I know, who likely see many of the same things from their reflections that I see from mine, I see so many beautiful and inspirational people. And I wonder, why am I my own worst critic? And have I let these doubts creep into how my daughter sees me? Or more importantly, how she sees herself?
And then I remember a morning when I was getting ready for work when my very impressionable daughter ran into my closet. I had a client meeting that day, so I had thrown together a makeshift maternity suit. I added a pair of pearls hoping to draw attention away from my tummy. As I peered at my reflection in the mirror, I grumbled to myself about how frumpy I felt at this state of my pregnancy. In that moment of self-doubt, Jane looked up at me and said spontaneously, “Mommy, you look beautiful!”
Why couldn’t I have seen that? Why couldn’t my reflection take a break from the self-criticism and see what she saw? What did I need to do to change the conversation of my reflection? What do all of us need to do see what the world sees in us?
I surely don’t have all of the answers, but here are a few ideas:
What if today, we each took a moment to reach out to our mothers, sisters, colleagues, or friends to share something we see in them that we wanted them to see in themselves. It could be through a note or a phone call or a Facebook message. It doesn’t have to be eloquent and flowery – just enough to ignite a change in how they see themselves.
And maybe we can each promise to spend a few moments this evening looking in the mirror and finding something about ourselves that we love. Something that we are proud of. Something that we hope to pass along to our children.
Finally, and most importantly, maybe we can change that sliding scale upon which we measure ourselves. Maybe it doesn’t have to go from “Woof” to “Hotter than Hot.” Perhaps, instead, it can say simply, “I’m enough.”