“Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year“ tells the story of UCLA doctoral student Kjerstin Gruy’s quest for personal growth and self-acceptance. As she started shopping for wedding dresses during her engagement, she found herself struggling to maintain a positive body image and falling prey to expectations around impossible beauty standards.
She made a monumental decision to swear off mirrors (and all reflective surfaces) for a whole year, just months before her wedding, even forgoing a final once-over before her walk down the aisle.
“I tell girls and women the same thing over and over: our bodies were made to be lived in, not looked at. Truly, when we claim our bodies as OURS, we have no choice but to love it and appreciate it. We have no other vehicle with which to experience our lives,” said Kjertstin, in an interview with We Are the Real Deal.
In thinking about Kjerstin’s mirror experiment I thought about how we can use the mirror or not use the mirror to move toward body neutrality, and eventually, a positive body image.
Body Neutrality Experiment
- Use this affirmation: I am more than my reflection.
- Turn away from the mirror, take three deep breaths, prepare your affirmation.
- Turn back to the mirror and say: I am more than my reflection. You probably will hear the negative self talk again. Don’t worry, this is normal.
The goal is to create space between the affirmation and the negative statements. The more you practice this, the bigger the space gets between the affirmation and negative self talk.
Body hate does NOT help you to lose weight, to motivate you to work out, or to eat food that feels good in your body. The less time you spend dwelling in negative body talk, the more time you have to be in your body and perhaps re-evaluate your body image.
No matter what you decide to experiment with… whether it’s not using a mirror or using the mirror for the body neutrality exercise, keep working to challenge the voices of body hate.
Have you read Kjerstin’s book? Could you give up mirrors for a year, even a day?