When I was in the process of selling a lot of the items I owned in order to pair down and move into my van I sold a beautiful full length mirror that had moved around with me for years. When I traded $20 for this mirror in a New Season's parking lot in Portland, I had no idea that transaction would make such a profound impact on my life.
It is interesting, when I was building out the van I got a lot of random questions, but a common one was what will I do for a mirror. In those moments, I honestly didn't even think about it. I have a rearview mirror and if need be I would find mirrors in public restrooms and friends houses. Although, after about a month of not standing in front of a mirror daily, I noticed a massive shift. I wasn't diving into all the things that were wrong with my body or changing outfits 5 times because it didn't look "good", instead I was running with this feeling of feeling good versus looking good. I realized how much this damn full length mirror had played such a negative role in my life.
How many times have you found yourself staring into the mirror doing circles checking out your bod, but not necessarily being very nice to yourself about the beautify which is you. In one way or another it is common to struggle with body image. For myself, I have always needed to stay looking "fit" and when I did gain those few pounds or ate that whole pizza I would immediately downward spiral when in front of the mirror. Worried about my butt being too big, if there was cellulite on my legs, what was that bulge that is supposed to be my flat stomach? Although, all of that was complete bullshit, because in each and every one of those moments, I was still doing my best and living the lifestyle that made me thrive. Also, what we see in the mirror in those moments is far from the reality of what others see in you.
For the past four and a half months I have rarely changed in front of a mirror, instead I have been grabbing what I am drawn to for the day, tossing it on in the back of the van and then just head out. Not spending the extra time to dive into what I look like in my daily outfits, but rather noting how I feel in whatever I have on. A lot of the time, that means a wrinkled dress or running shorts, and those outfits make me feel amazing. As for putting on makeup, that went away just days after moving into the van. I lost my mascara, put away everything else and embraced the sun kissed, dust covered look with tired eyes.
I still have my moments when I get in front of a mirror that I start to downward spiral, although now I quickly pull myself out of it. I pull myself back to the moments that I was hiking up a mountain and looked down at my thighs noticed the muscles which were carrying me, or the moment my arms pulled my up a rock face. My body is strong, it takes me up mountains. I don't need a mirror to tell me that, I can feel that.
Living on the road sometimes leads me to pizza joints and numerous pints of beer which of course make me feel "fit". But, I have made the shift to not downward spiral because of what I eat, because guess what, that beer was delicious and I connected with new or old friends over that beer and there is a more inspiring story there other than the story of fuck I drank a beer and now feel bloated.
This no mirror thing has made such a positive shift on how I see myself. The shift from dressing in front of a mirror checking out every detail of my body and outfit, to putting on something that makes me feel good, throwing up my dirty unwashed hair and getting outside. Feeling the sun on my face, the wind blowing through my greasy dust filled hair, and looking down at my wrinkled dress brings me so much joy. This is what makes me feel beautiful, fit and alive. No mirror can give me that feeling.
Try it out, try turning around your full length mirror around for a week (or even just one day) and see what shifts. Our bodies are so damn beautiful, and when we allow ourselves the moments to feel that there is a beautiful shift in our love towards ourselves. Love yourself for how you feel and that huge smile on your face that lights up a room, not for what you think you look like in a mirror, that ins't the deep reality of who you are.