In the mirror

In the mirror: reflections on self-image and the myth of perfection. | Clean.
In the mirror: reflections on self-image and the myth of perfection. | Clean.
In the mirror: reflections on self-image and the myth of perfection. | Clean.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
My daughter is seven. When she sees herself she doesn't see imperfections.
Instead of crooked teeth she sees strong teeth. Instead of eczema she sees healing.
She sees herself as powerful.
Capable. Magical.
And I wonder when that changed for most of us.
When did we stop seeing our thighs as strong and start seeing them as fat?
When did we stop seeing the fabulous day we had, romping and running and laughing and living and start seeing dirty floors and a spotty bathroom mirror?
When did we stop seeing the immeasurable richness in our lives and start to see only what we lack?
And this has me thinking.
That somewhere along the way we got confused. We got critical.
We started searching for flaws – in ourselves, in our lives, and in others.
We started calling out what was imperfect.
And we started spinning the myth of perfection.
And then we tried to reach that level of flawlessness in our bodies, our faces, our homes.
Our lives.
But you know what? It's just a lie that you've been sold.
Because no one was meant to be perfect.
And no one is.
You – right now – as is – are amazing.
With your every flaw. With your pain. Your struggles.
You. Are. Perfect.
In your imperfection.
No paint, no Photoshop, just you.
Right now.
You are light.
P.S. You might also enjoy this piece on imperfection and the power of "cropping". (Cuss-free version here.)

23 thoughts on “In the mirror

  1. Val says:

    I wonder if you know what a powerful post this is. Oh my! We certainly have been sold a lie. This is going to change the rest of my day for the better. I love how inspirational your kids are. I’ve met them at the Midwest Energy Fair and they are beautiful souls.

  2. Karen says:

    These very thoughts have been rambling around in my head.
    Along with wondering why it becomes so difficult to remember to view things in the light you mention above….
    Thank you again for your words, as usual, they resonate with me completely.

  3. valerie says:

    Hey, check this out:

    This is a commercial but the message, apart from ‘buy this product’, matches also what you wrote, and what I’ve been thinking about: when did we stop being ok with ourselves? I wonder that so often, when I watch my kids…
    At some point in the commercial above, they write: ‘quand avez-vous cessé de vous trouver belle?’ = ‘when did you stop finding yourself good-looking?’.
    How about we decide we are good-looking, and that’s that…all of us? 😉

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    It’s been rattling around for me too. Less in terms of body image but more in terms of our homes and our compulsion to clean before people visit, and the tendency to offer criticism so quickly in our culture. Thank you for your words.

  5. Fräulein Rucksack says:

    Just earlier today I was holding my girl in my arms and looking in the mirror and cought myself smiling of joy. And when I saw me I saw a beautiful me. I was surprised that this was possible, seeing myself in that way. I was wondering why in that moment I didn’t see my rolls of fat, greasy hair and spotty skin. But happy beautiful me. So often your words complement my thoughts and I wonder how you know…
    Thank you so much, Rachel!

  6. Heather says:

    This really hit home today. Thank you for sharing something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Lately, I have been really reminding myself that perfection does not make a person worthy of love. We are all worthy of love, warts and all. xoxo

  7. Tamika says:

    Much.needed…as always! I feel so fine as I am when it is my kids and myself…but when people are coming to visit, I obsess about the dust, the dog hair, the stack of “stuff” on the counter. The remodeling job that may never be complete.

    I feel the need to wash my hair because it doesn’t look clean though I know it is, to change my clothes a few times. I was just on the phone with a friend and realized it is 3pm and I’m still in my pjs, because I spent the day “exploring” and reading with my kids, so dressing didn’t seen important! I don’t want my kids to obsess over silly things like this…

  8. Sara says:

    Thank you Rachel, for your honest and uplifting words. I needed to hear this today. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  9. Julie says:

    I was sitting with my sisters a while ago and caught my sister closest in age (14 mos. older) STARING at my hair, and realized she saw my gray hair that she doesn’t have yet. My first response was embarrassment, but then I was totally honest and told her I love seeing gray hair as it’s coming in. It’s amazing how we change over the years.

    The lessons I’m teaching my children are hitting home these days. It doesn’t matter what somebody’s body looks like compared to others, God makes us each differently. Beauty comes from the inside. It’s okay not to be the best at everything, as long as you’re having fun playing/trying.

  10. Knitting Mole says:

    I love this post. And I LOVE your cropping post! Hubs and I practice the power of cropping often on our IG feed since we are selling the wonderful things we photograph in our home. But I’m grateful everyday for that home and its Mid Century lines. The fact that our floors could be a wee bit cleaner, bathroom mirror a little less spotty, etc never occurred to me until we had an appraiser in last week. Now all of a sudden our home is worth less because its in “original condition” (exactly how we want it!!!). So restoring our home to its 1959 glory is a bad thing? BS I say! (I told the hubs if I hear the words granite and stainless steel one more time I was going to strangle someone)

    As far as my body image, I feel the same way. I would love to be in better health to keep up with my daughter, but frankly, if that means I’m 150 lbs or 250 lbs, I don’t really care. (I don’t have a full length mirror, so why dwell on it??) 🙂

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