Mirror, mirror
Daily life poems

Mirror, mirror: Who is she? The stranger is me.

Do you see changes in the mirror too?

I find myself looking at a stranger in the mirror.

I think back to a year ago, I don’t like the same things.

On the surface I am the same, thanks to my baby face.

On the inside I feel I have outgrown myself.

I have lived another life.

With a sting in my eye,

I say goodbye, to who I once was.

You do not know me. You cannot know me.

Because I don’t know me.

Not anymore.

How do you start your mornings?

Mirror, mirror- you are right. You know us best.

Do you start off every morning looking in the mirror? I do 🙋🏻‍♀️. It is so second nature we probably don’t realize how much we look at ourselves.

However, not all people recognize their own image. Our journey with self-recognition starts at 18-24 months, making it one of the first things we recognize.

Something that is so innate can get distorted as we grow older. People with schizophrenia, body dysmorphia, and anorexia do not always recognize themselves, at least the way we see them.

No matter how we see ourselves, our neural responses are different concerning self-recognition in photographs and mirrors according to this 2012 study.

Did you know? To our brain our mirror image is different than our photo image. People are used to seeing us like photographs. Whereas we are used to seeing ourselves in the mirror. To some, though- they see neither. Their shape is distorted into a horrible show of angst .

Guy carrying mirror
Photo by Luis Ruiz on Pexels.com

Our longest relationship is actually the mirror

One of the first people we recognized is ourselves. Self-recognition in the mirror is so strong, that some people with Alzheimer’s even recognize themselves in the mirror but not photos. That shows how strong our bond and relationship with the mirror is.

That’s why it is so sad to me when people don’t like what they see in the mirror. I hate to think that the longest relationship is a sad, toxic, distorted one.

That feeling when you look in the mirror, and don’t see what’s right there. That is body dysmorphia.

We use mirrors to brush our teeth.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Body dysmorphia can happen to anyone with any body type

All body types can endure the scary process of dysmorphia. Ok, it’s not like a blonde person will suddenly see themselves as a red head.

But a skinny person can see their body as a bigger or more robust. Whereas a heavier person can see themselves as extremely skinny.

Finding faults
Trying to find faults and magnifying them.

When you hate what you see in the mirror😡

At some level, we all have elements of body dysmorphia. When we don’t like pictures. Or can’t see how we look skinnier than a year ago.

That dress that looks bomb on you. Sadly, you think it looks like a trash bag, not the fashionable kind.

That is normal though. Everyone has some dissatisfaction with the way they look. However, excessive, or extreme concern with one’s looks, is when things start becoming worrisome.

People with body dysmorphia are extremely obsessed with their bodies. This obsession is expressed by looking at the mirror compulsively, all the time. Or the other extreme, never looking at mirrors.

Body dysmorphia is defined as:

A preoccupation with apparent defects in patient’s appearance, which causes significant distress and impairment.

Journal of Medicine and Primary Care
Woman looking at her body in the mirror

Muscle dysmorphia: Mirror mirror, who is the muscliest of them all?

In men, body dysmorphia is often displayed as muscle dysmorphia. This is linked to the extreme pressure to adhere to the ideal image of being lean and muscular.

People with muscle dysmorphia think they are frail, small, and have less muscles than they do.

Muscly Man
Someone who is muscly can think they are skinny. P.S. This person does not have body dysmorphia, it is just a photo I found.

A message to guys (not the mean kind)

Hey , you. Yes , you. Handsome person reading this. I didn’t forget about you.

Why do you look in the mirror and see your little flab, as monstrously big?

No, we are not staring at your little ankles. Your legs don’t look like twigs. Guys also experience dysmorphia.

To be honest, I feel a bit guilty. While both women and men share a lot of the same feelings and concerns about their bodies. We tend to compliment men less.

Man looking in mirror

I don’t hear that many people calling men handsome when they are. I realize I tell many women they look beautiful without blinking an eye. Or that their outfit is nice.

But I am more reserved when I tell a guy. Well, so that they don’t think I’m hitting on them. No, that’s not it. If I look deeper, I think it’s because I think guys don’t want or need compliments.

That’s a pretty messed up thought. All humans like compliments. We easily compliment a guy for their car, but not their smile. I am sorry for that. Starting today, I will start complimenting men (I like) more.

Maybe, that is why so many men who are so obviously handsome and fit think they are not.

What are “problem-areas” for men and women? Our broken mirror.

According to a recent 2020 study, women are more dissatisfied with their complexion, body fat, facial hair, and height.

Whereas men tend to complain about their: muscular body, height, weight, and hair thinning.

I am shocked by how similar their concerns are. For some reason, I never thought men care about their hair. Despite, my brother always telling me that men are insecure about going bald.

Just in case you are wondering, this female doesn’t care if you’re bald or have long hair.

Man and woman exercising side-by-side.
Photo by Julia Larson on Pexels.com

How to compliment a guy and girl?

It seems I am not the only one preoccupied with how to compliment a guy. On Google Trends, the question is a breakout (at least it was on April 8, 2021).

At our core, I ‘d like to think humans are good. If we are going out of our way to ask these questions. Ok not totally out of our way.

However, asking Google this instead of when our favorite tv show is coming out? That’s inspiring.

Pat on back

Based off the aforementioned article on people’s insecurities, I would complement people’s perceived insecurities.

For men, I’d start by saying how muscly and strong they look. Compliment their hair. If they don’t have hair- compliment their bald head.

As for women, who equally need compliments, tell them their skin is glowing, they look beautiful in that outfit. Of course , this can change depending on your person.

You know a person well enough to know their insecurities. That is the area we should hype them up in.

Not every guy wants to be muscly and not every woman wants to be skinny. So, user-discretion is advised.

Share it forward : Compliment someone

You know that movie, about a kid who starts a chain of good deeds. If you didn’t watch Pay It Forward, please do.

It changed my whole perception as a kid and made me realize I needed to be better.

Why not start a chain of compliments? Tell one guy and one girl you like they look great. Better yet, tell a stranger they are good looking. For some reason, compliments from strangers hit different.

Yet so many of us are afraid to compliment others. Researchers suggest that it could be because we underestimate how positively someone will take our compliment.

Furthermore, we overestimate how annoyed people get when we compliment them.

Compliments (if not harassment) are just one of the greatest forms of human expression.

Fishing for compliments
Let’s make sure nobody needs to fish for compliments.

Men, please answer me

Finally, when it comes to compliments there is not enough information on males.

Ironically, when I tried to search for information on men receiving compliments, all Google Scholar showed me is how women feel about men complimenting them.

I don’t know why that is. Consequently, I am left with more questions.

The closest thing I found about men and compliments, was the finding that men and women’s preferential-responding to compliments depends on expectations of being feminine or masculine.

Kudos to them for exploring. However, really, I am back to square one.

Man getting his hair done

If you are a guy, please, answer me.

How do you feel when you get complimented? Are all compliments equal? Or do you prefer one about your personality and humor? Or looks?

Do you get uncomfortable when someone mentions your looks? Or tells you, you look hot, or your ass is nice?

I would preferably like to know the answer before March 1st. Mark your calendars, March 1st is “World Compliment Day”.

No need to wait till then to compliment the women, men, girls, boys, and animals in your life. Start today 🙂

Final thoughts

Unfortunately, people with body dysmorphia- won’t believe us when we tell them they look amazing. No matter how many compliments we give them. More specialized intervention is needed.

But maybe we can minimize the risk of people developing body dysmorphia, hopefully.

Check out another article about body image and self-love. Oh, and before you go. To me you’re beautiful and handsome.

Woman loving her reflection
I wish everybody looked at themselves in the mirror like this.

So, who will you compliment today?


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