When you look into a mirror, what do you see? Do you focus on shortcomings? Or do you study yourself with healthy detachment, able to find the positives staring back at you?
I’m not sure why people are so obsessed with body image these days. Has the media made us so hypercritical that we’re unable to be happy with the way we look? Has it created a society that is way too focused on an image on screen or in the movies or on a magazine page that is, for 99% of us, unattainable?
Or are we this way because of something else instead? Something more intrinsic and that’s hard-wired within each of us? I have no idea, but this concept really got me thinking.
A recent study by Prevention Magazine touches on this, and is what inspired this week’s blog. It found that healthy women were just as likely to have a distorted body image as those with an eating disorder. Now, I’m not going to get all hot and heavy here; I’m not a physician or psychiatrist and I’m not going to delve into a subject that’s best left for the experts. But I do think it’s interesting how many people have a skewed perception of what they look like. And this isn’t just a female thing, either. Men are just as likely to have it, too.
Enter broken eyes. I’d first heard this term, oh … hmm … maybe five or six years ago. I was in a ladies room and overheard two women talking. One of the women complained about her hair, and then went on to criticize her mouth. To me, she was a very pleasant looking woman. Put together, nicely dressed, and she had a cute laugh, too. As she went on about her “deficiencies”, her friend said, “When are you ever going to stop looking at yourself through broken eyes?”
Interestingly enough, I was in a ladies room this past week and had a very similar experience again. Yeah, I know. It freaked me out, too. And I got to thinking …
What makes us so externally obsessed anyway? There’s this little thing in evolution that suggests that people are attracted to appealing-looking people as a way to differentiate the virile from the weak. It’s an innate way of keeping the species procreating and making it stronger and better. On a physical level, that makes sense.
But if you think about that a little more, what about the indefinables that come into play? You know, those traits that are obscure but that attract you to someone regardless of looks. Confidence, for example. A cheery disposition. Or a sense of peace that a person exudes that immediately makes you feel at peace with yourself, too.
Which brings me to my point. There’s no arguing that what’s on the surface of each of us can be viewed as attractive, but what’s on the inside is far more important. And I think, once we fix our broken eyes, we’d be much more able to focus on those inner strengths and make them more visible to the world. After all, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but long-term happiness with yourself – on the inside and out – comes from our own eyes and no one else’s.
What do you think? Are we too externally focused in this world? And if so, what could we possibly do about it to fix all those broken eyes?
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We are often the most critical of ourselves. We need to see the total picture, not the micro-part we’re focused on. Great post!
So true, Maggie, and thanks for stopping by!
Great post, Terri! And it hit home for me in my own situation, if I may personalize this. I am now without my life partner at 55. On regular occasions I think, will I ever take another mate before I’m too old (or die) and immediately I think about that, I look in the mirror and wonder what on earth will attract a new mate to someone very much on the downhill slope. This moment, (my moment of ‘broken eyes’) thankfully, only lasts mere seconds. I then remember that I am happy who I am, where I am and how I got there and what I have. I ignore the fact that gravity has well and truly grabbed my body and is relentlessly drawing it earthward and focus on my spirit which I strive to forever soar upward, I also believe in myself that I don’t need a life partner to be complete. I have many friends and family who I’m sure genuinely love me. None need me so much as maybe a life partner would, but, hey! *I* need me – to be the strongest I am, the healthiest I am and the happiest I am. I believe, during these moments, I can fix my broken eyes…until the next time they slip, and then I go through the process again. It’s part of my learning and continued learning. Did I get off the track? 🙂 Thank you for this little gem – it opened my eyes to another facet of my life and helped center me just that little bit more.
It’s what people who love each other do — give us moments of clarity we might not otherwise see.