Elevating your self-regard

Illustration of a woman looking into a mirror and seeing something slightly different in the mirror.

My partner and I have recently moved into a condo for the first time. This means I take an elevator multiple times a day. The elevator is beautiful, marble tile, stainless steel and yes, three walls of mirrors. As much as I try not to, it’s hard not to look at myself. I really try. I stare at the stainless steel door. That’s awkward! My gaze drifts to the mirrors. And then I evaluate. My hair. My wrinkles. My arms. My outfit. The list of body parts and clothing choices to critique seems endless.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Whether it’s the three-sided elevator mirror, a full-length mirror at home, the dressing room mirror in your favourite shop or what we think others are reflecting back to us, there are always opportunities to evaluate our imperfections. What do we see?

Are we generous, kind, accepting, proud or judgmental, harsh, critical and rejecting of what we see in ourselves?

We don’t make up these judgments. Dominant social discourses depict women as struggling with low self-esteem, imperfect bodies and flawed personalities. There are multi-billion dollar ‘beauty’ and self-help industries designed to ‘fix’ women and their flaws. Try as we might to ignore them, we all absorb these messages. These externally created messages transform into our own inner critics. How have the messages about perfection impacted you?

What would it mean if we rejected social norms about perfection and accepted our imperfections?
Look around. No one is perfect. And no one needs to be. What if you could relax your expectations of yourself? If you could give yourself the same compassion and empathy you’d show a friend, it would be so much easier to hit the ‘delete’ button on your inner critic.

What do you need to give yourself permission for? Write yourself a permission slip and enjoy who you are, flaws and all.

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