A reflection on what mirror reflects …

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Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is the slimmest of the all?

Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is the wrinkle free of the all?

My bundle of joy, my little boy is six now. Never in fourteen hours of his wakefulness, he stands in front of mirror or catches a glimpse of himself unless in some blue moon he feels like making a fancy face or poke a joke on his own image. He just doesn’t feel the need for it. I know he will not stay the same, but that story rests for some other day when I face the gun. Is he not aware of his existence?

What is that makes a child not to be that self-conscious about his or her body?

Our body image is our reflection on the appearance that we carry or to say the personality we offer, which indeed is a part of our existence. But what is that makes us grown-up feel so conscious about our physicality and right here I am hinting on the attributes that we manifest aesthetically. The morning mirror throws a reality check as we brush our teeth or tidy up, to face the world. Our face and body stands there sometimes as welcoming as it could be and many times as a challenge to overcome. We agree or not but amidst all the engagements or hustle, we all do find a few seconds to steal a glimpse of our own self in mirror and adjust our demeneaour depending upon the reflection it throws at us. If not so, then why on earth would your profile pictures in social media sees you in the chosen best of the light?

While it’s not wrong to be conscious about your presentability but if believing or obsessing on ‘what you look like’ determines your value as a person, then somehow it carries unfavourable implication on your own self worth. Being fixated to physical appearance and trying to fit into this new found definition of beauty which changes every now and then with trending and sponsored media galleries, causes a superficial approach to find and feel the real you. The media hungry obsession of picture perfect body images of celebrities has done no good to us or to our coming generation, where mostly many pictures are photo shopped to the point of achieving a totally impeccable body shape or bearing. As it is there’s nothing left to fancy for or charm about with the abundance of incongruity and shamelessness exhibited in the name of glam or sham.

This reminds me of a day few years down the lane, while I used to work for a media house and was a part of a management team, who coordinated the supposedly most prestigious beauty contest of India. When I met the contestants backstage almost all of them between 18 to 24 years maidens sans make up or designer ensemble, I felt a sense of hollowness as if the air surrounding smelled of something so over-pretentious or affected. There was something not natural about it as almost all the girls looked alike or similar as if measured, dissected and pruned accordingly as to fit into a cast which defies their originality, for a reason which does not resonate with the very essence of beauty.

When all are almost same, how do we measure? But then why should we measure?

Doesn’t the beauty lies in the uniqueness of each one of us?

To add to the glory there were few who were mugging the jarred lines on women empowerment and social obligations to score a point or two. After delivering my duties which was little tiresome being into the core of the event, once I was out of the backstage and then making my way through the crowd and then out of the venue and stepped towards my vehicle, which was parked in that vast airy space outside the auditorium meant for parking, I felt a sense of relief, away from that stifling air inside which was nothing less than the mockery on the entirety of beauty. I was almost of the same age group of the beauty pageants but totally from different side of the world. I was neither as tall nor size zero like them, but there upsurged this strange sense of confidence within me which made me feel more beautiful inside as every day I lived I have seen the sense of appreciation and look of admiration of people around me who know me and may be even physically find me endurable enough and thankfully I was not a part of that pointless inane beauty parade.

Back home I switched on the TV and the same contest was going on live and this was something I have watched consistently in my teenage days. For the first time, I rejected it. Somewhere I felt a woman cocooned out of a girl. I was 23 then. It lost that charm or attention of mine after being exposed with the real manoeuvres of how it really works and what damage it actually does to the young ones projecting skewed versions of beauty. And ever since I have just stopped watching it. It doesn’t amuse or thrill me at all, no more. Infact it dissuades or makes me feel rather dismayed. Should we then blame the media alone. A family is a powerful system too. I have seen girls of as early as ten or twelve following dieting or exhibiting eating disorders just to be part of the insane race or to feel validated by peer group and the surroundings.

Quite recently I attended a puberty ceremony(sort of sweet sixteen) of my neighbour’s daughter. She was dressed in traditional attire with golden brocade silks and rich ornate jewelleries. She wore makeup, may be for the first time. She is not that typical beauty which certain set standards proclaim but at plumper side. But there flickered a sweet smile on her face and a sense of delight lingered in her poise. At that moment I was so sure of what I wanted to tell her being a woman who has passed that impressionable and sensitive phase of girlhood. I just looked at her eyes as there were people around and noise and told her assuredly that ‘you look beautiful today as you are a gorgeous, gorgeous girl.’ I could feel the twinkle in hers eyes sparkled a bit more with sort of a sense of achievement. And I am sure that with years to pass by, when certain days will be harsher to her, words of appreciation and assurance like this treasured in her innermost self will give her the spunk to fight back and have belief in her own being.

Our body is this amazing gift; appreciating and respecting all the things it can do will help us to feel more positive about it and notions like this if instilled at right age into our sweet little ones will create a more self-reliant and secure generation.

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And now comes the formidable question once again to be grappled with:

What is that makes a child not to be that conscious about his/her body image?

Perhaps if we think deeper, we will realise that childhood to certain stage lacks that state of self- consciousness as somewhere their physical state of being is in tandem or harmony with their mind, emotion and intellect. A child accepts his body the way it is, without making any fuss about what he is not or what he should be in terms of appearance. And there lies a subtle message for us in this as the day we accept our physicality the way it is like a child, instead of grouching on that extra inch gain or freaking on one fine line appearing in forehead, may be we will understand the true beauty God has bestowed on each of us; the beauty of being you.

The beauty which defines you and only you and no one else. It’s being accepting who you are rather than trying to chase a never ending unrealistic race of being who you are not. It’s having learned to appreciate how each part of your body connects, and how wonderful it is to be able to use it fully in harmony with your senses alive. It’s being comfortable in your own skin. It’s been feeling beautiful by being alive in itself.

It’s not about what mirror reflects,

but rather about how we reflect

on what we see is the key.

Just give your body some love and that’s what all it needs to feel the real beauty in you. Until then I wonder, How the world would have been with no mirrors around? Does it even matter as long as you feel you are beautiful inside and out!

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82 thoughts on “A reflection on what mirror reflects …

  1. An excellent post! I am not a very mirror savvy person, there are days where i have attended school and college and office without combing my hair as i was running late. Yes, family is an influence. I was never into beauty shows, I believed or was made to believe that my real asset is my brain and my face is just my identity so, that I do not get lost. I still now see the mirror just once in a day. Once a girl in my college stopped me and told me that I was not beautiful…I smiled and said…”I know, How does it matter?” I first heard that I was good when I started to date but never mind. Real shocker after getting married at 23 I heard all sing praises of my fair skin (which i detest sometimes coz people gift me all sparkle and fluorescent to wear and That is the only thing that is not like my Mom, so for me fair is not that beautiful) They sang praises of how I look including my hubby till one day I shouted to not to call me “beautiful”. Why I am sharing all these because I am tired of the picture of a woman, of a man portrayed by the media, I have lost many friends to it.

  2. It reminds me of the story of a young man who somehow landed at the city of blinds where beauty used to be defined through touch. He fell in love with a girl there who was considered ugly there because he saw her through his eyes and all others used to see her through their hands.

    Beauty is a hollow word as other words. It is us who put meaning in words. It is old saying that beauty lies in beholder not in the object seen. πŸ™‚

  3. Kismet says:

    I was backstage too chaitali bringing in the media and the photographers to capture the events …fashion shows and rock shows nothing has left me more disillusioned than this world …what was amazing was that the more creative folks were backstage too and never got into that stage

  4. My oldest boy is a bit plump, and he’s become very self conscious. Part of it is that he’s awakened to girls in school, and the other part of it is the social pressure and body standards that are imposed on him. They are imposed not only by the media, but by his peers. This ‘world view’ on what a body should look like has become systemic. I find myself trying to build up his deflated confidence.

  5. It’s not about what mirror reflects, but rather about how we reflect on what we see
    is the key.” … Wonderful post expressing wonderful thoughts… really inspiring.

  6. Absolutely Chaitali! I totally believe in what you wrote.
    I’m so glad to connect with a beautiful woman with such wonderful thoughts as you.
    I always look forward to reading your posts.
    I keep reinforcing in fun ways to my son how beauty lies in being unique.
    As he is growing… I know at some point he would need it.
    I think kids learn a lot from us. If they see us being confident about ourselves they’ll learn it too. πŸ™‚

  7. I come from a culture where being in a beauty pageant is considered quite the status. I’ve had to do a lot of de-conditioning to not be so impacted by society’s pressures regarding beauty and body image. I have no children but I have often hoped that if I did I would be able to shed all of my own issues around feminine beauty, aging, etc., and show her a different way from day one. I have a feeling though that it would be easier said than done. In the meantime, I’m going to keep on fighting the war.

  8. Beginning with that innocent peek of a child in the mirror, you have reasoned down to a feeling that, well, that is the crux of that famous book, ‘Monk who sold his Ferrari’. I am balding at a breathtaking space and I cannot even begin telling you the pain that surges from deep within as the devastation peers back at me from the mirror each morning. I guess this desire to appeal to others is genetically hardcoded and is crucial to survival. That, it is worthless, is true, although a renunciation of the urge may have adverse side effects, it is the key to Nirvna!

  9. Just recalled what I read about Swami Vivekanada, when he looked at himself in the mirror and wondered why he was forgetting how he looks.. It is so true that how much ever we look at ourselves in the mirrors and photographs, we are not given a chance to look at ourselves! What we see in mirror is not we as it reverses our left to right and vise versa! Very nice post Chaitali…. A thoughtful one!

  10. Partly the media is to blame, in fact it can take a lot of the blame, however if children were taught from a young age to just be happy in themselves and be proud of themselves then that would be a great help.

    It is strange that the size 0 woman that is meant to be attractive really isn’t to a lot of men, it seems like something that has been perpetuated and brought into public consciousness and is just held to be true without much basis in actual fact.

    I acknowledge I could be a little fitter but when it comes to it, just being happy is enough for me and I won’t let much get me down…a world without mirrors would be great I think…it would probably wipe out self consciousness overnight.

  11. When I am feeling positive and strong about the person I am inside, the positivity and joy makes me look better on the outside. The more I relax about apperance, the better I feel too – a double edged sword! A GENUINE smile makes anyone beautiful in my eyes. Wonderful post.

  12. Beautiful Post Chaitali ! Instead of reading some of the comments I hurriedly scrolled down lest I become affected by their views ….and I wanted to post mine PURE.
    First – Even I use to toy with EXACTLY the same question Again and Again and as recent as yesterday ! — what would have happened if there were no mirrors ? (by the coincidence i am having goosebumps!)
    I guess Chaitali we would have invented some other way to bog ourselves/others down as I feel, an average person is always insecure and instead of sorting it he/she covers it … bright, brilliant things .. more of -Hey,like look here not there , where my weakness lie.
    Afterall who decides what is beautiful ?
    Instead of accepting and overcoming the weakness, we try to divert attention from them and in turn create new/fake US and worse..we believe in the fake US and struggle through out our lives for that wrinkle-free, stress-free, always active US.
    So bEAUTY is yet another such thing like -Success, Prestige… based on social norms/rules….
    What counts is how YOU/WE feel .

  13. Brilliant post Chaitali. Thanks for sharing. Beauty is what you believe in, your own strength. That’s it. I’ve always felt, if you let somebody else’s words define you, 1. you haven’t known yourself yet. 2. you aren’t strong enough.
    You will always smile and find the words quite shallow if you have the above two πŸ™‚
    Keep writing! πŸ™‚

  14. It’s a beautiful post Chaitali urging all of us to find the beauty deep within us. To instill that feeling of confidence when one is young is the best thing adults can do. The confidence in oneself , one’s abilities and one’s personality whichever way it is – a foundation which really prepares you to face all that life has to offer. Unfortunately this crucial thing is missed by so many parents , who insist on making their own child feel less secure about himself / herself and in turn, gift the child a lifelong battle of insecurities.

  15. A very thoughtful post Chaitali , I will have to admit one thing though I was born with a mirror attached to my face πŸ™‚ ..The little me spent hours before it so much that it angered my dad but I never changed πŸ™‚ .

  16. Really a very profound post, “mirror” a metaphor, it means lot to us, we don’t move out of house without a peep at it…it just not shows how our physical appearance is but it does reflects how we are feeling and what our emotions are within…Many times we check our confidence by just speaking in front of the mirror such is inherent power of a mirror…lovely post!!!

  17. Its so common chaitali , this mad race to be beautiful on the outside and judging people on how they look. I have gone through that phase when I was known ad the ugly ducklings ng in the family. Trust me it took me great effort to overcome those complexes.
    Great post!

  18. wonderful post – and I love how you weave in the personal share about your son while you share your wisdom – and I agree – “on what we see
    is the key.” and ‘show your body some love” – well said!!!
    <3

  19. Mirror tells the Truth and does not THINK..
    to me I think Nothing is beautiful or ugly , Nothing is good or bad .. We are what we are , How we are .. Its how we perceive things what is good for me maybe be bad for someone else ..

    Although I also wish I could be a child again and be as freee…

    I come after a long time to read some blogs and this one is absolutely lovely article.

  20. Thought provoking narrative yet one truth comes out loud and clear – real beauty comes from within us. Our nature, our values and our behaviour.
    A lovely post Chaitali.

  21. The look factor starts from birth – Studies have proved that even babies respond favorably to prettier faces.
    If there are stark contrasts between siblings, it gets worse. People can pass very insensitive comments, like ‘You are so & so’s sister? Cant believe it. She’s so fair ……etc’

  22. Reblogged this on Priya Jivrajani and commented:
    This is the detailed post of my today’s post titled as Be Beautiful, Be You. Love the words in description. Just keep one thing in mind, if you won’t feel you’re beautiful, world won’t ever accept you as beautiful!

  23. NJ says:

    This was so good πŸ™‚ As it always said ” Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” πŸ™‚ The need is to be happy and fit πŸ™‚ rather than chasing a mirage of beauty πŸ™‚

  24. It is a very serious issue indeed. One should try to unfold and appreciate the inner beauty of oneself rather than bothering about the external appearance which gradually fades away with time. A good read!

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