I rarely talk about appearance here in Fitness Reloaded, as I see weight loss and better looks as a side-effect of living healthier rather than the actual reason to exercise or eat right. Yet, let’s be honest with ourselves. We all care about how we look. We know it affects our self-confidense. No matter how much we claim we care for our health, with health being a long-term thing, appearance is what takes prevalence in our perception. So let’s address this issue today…
When I was 16 I didn’t like shopping for pants because I found it hard to find a pair that would actually fit nice. To be honest, I hated going shopping for pants. I needed to get new pants and shorts, yet I couldn’t find anything that would at least look ok.
One day, after trying a pair of jeans that left me disappointed (once again)…I thought:
“I have a troubled relationship with the mirror. This affects me every day, as I have to choose what to wear every day, and I have to look myself in the mirror every day. It’s not as if I can skip the mirror. Hence, I am kind of annoyed or disappointed every day. What if I was actually happy with how I look? What if the mirror was a delightful experience? Wouldn’t that be great?”
Well, my idea of “being happy with how I look” was to exercise… a lot. Cut out carbs and really take care of my diet. Stuff myself with veggies. Once I did all that, then I would be free to look in the mirror (and yes, I would have a good time when shopping for pants as well).
Luckily in the following years I would find out that you don’t need to become a fitness freak to find pants that fit and like what you see in the mirror. It’s actually much easier.
But I digress. The point of this article is not how to love how you look, or what to do to improve your looks (getting drunk works only for a few hours – not recommended), or how to find pants that fit.
The point is our own relationship…with ourselves. Those daily annoyances of “I don’t look good in this pair, I have to find another shirt that matches better with this, I need to change the lighting in my house so that I have a better daily experience with the mirror” do take a toll on your psychology and self-confidence. Plus, you experience them DAILY. They affect you EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE.
Getting rid of them would mean an INSTANT UPGRADE OF THE QUALITY OF YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE.
You see, when I realized that these kind of thoughts affected me every day, I realized that not liking the way you look is similar to financial debt.
When you are in debt, regardless of whether it is credit card debt, student loans, or a mortgage, the debt is always somehow in your mind. You buy something and you cannot avoid thinking about your debt. Being in debt does not only affect you when it’s time to pay your balance, it also affects you daily, with almost every small or large purchase.
Similarly, not liking how your body looks, does not only affect you when you need to get clothes, it also affects you every day. With every look in the mirror… With every reflection on a shop’s window…
Actually becoming friends with the mirror means a huge boost in how you feel every day.
Here is the trick though: You cannot get rid of your debt, or you cannot actually like how you look, without working on it. The good news is, of course, that you do have the power to change your relationship with the mirror…if you take the right steps.
Just like you have the power to make more money or save more, you also have the power to change your body. So this is what I thought to myself back then:
“I have the power to actually make my daily mirror experience from a so-so one, to a delightful one! I could just do what it takes and then I would make friends with the mirror.”
I didn’t exercise at the time. Life as a high-school student often takes a toll on our athletic activities. I could change that though. I knew I could.
I tried exercising for 10 min every day, yet I didn’t keep doing it. I often asked myself “Why?”. I knew I had 10 min. Then, why did I not do it?
I didn’t really have a good answer for that (but I do now…more in my new book “Unstuck“).
So years passed by…I accepted the fact that I would never make friends with the mirror. Then, I went to college and started exercising regularly.
My body started changing. After my first year of exercise the mirror started liking me better, and I liked the mirror more. As years were going by, our relationship was actually improving.
Right now I don’t have a perfect relationship with the mirror, yet I don’t have fights with it either. I also don’t dread shopping for pants 🙂
The mirror is not yet a delightful experience, but it’s rarely bad either. Me and the mirror are on better terms now.
And my daily life is not burdened anymore by my relationship with the mirror.
So now the light is on you…
How do you want to live the rest of your life? How is your relationship with the mirror? If it’s good, then wonderful! If not, then maybe…just maybe…it’s time you take control over it. You can change it! And your body will start changing as soon as you take the right steps. Farewell 🙂
Photo Credit: Freedom House