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Someone once said, “How you look is the least interesting thing about you,” and I agree. Right now maybe it’s easier to point out everything you don’t like about yourself. Social distancing and staying home probably aren’t helping. This is why you can’t trust the mirror and why you can’t trust social media.

How you look means nothing about you. You’re amazing. It doesn’t matter if you have acne or wrinkles, and it doesn’t matter if you have abs or a tiny waist. Too many people promote a certain body type which not everyone has or can have. Some people’s hips are naturally wider, or their ribs are larger so they can’t be as narrow, curvy, or small as how the “ideal woman’s body” looks like. We can’t and we won’t all have the same type of body, so why do we compare so much? What does it matter if the girl next to you has a smaller waist or a bigger butt? 

The “ideal body” is not the ideal body for everyone. 

Right now things are different. We aren’t as active as before, we’re spending more time at home, moving less, spending more time on social media and consequently more time in front of the mirror. This is a recipe for disaster. This is why you can’t trust the mirror. 

No, the mirror didn’t tell me I needed to lose weight. I stood in front of the mirror one day and I pinched and poked all the places that I was conditioned to hate. It helped me find pieces of myself to change. I didn’t grow up hating my body — not until social media said I needed to look a certain way to be happy. Nothing was wrong until I believed that I was no longer good enough because of the way that I looked.

I know it’s hard with all the content going around about “abs in two weeks” or “how to get a summer body” or “how to lose weight to get a perfect body.” Unfortunately these are all real and are all recommended videos or posts.

I know there’s a safe way to change your body, and I know I didn’t do it right, but that’s not the point. The point is, you don’t have to change your body. 

There are expectations that we look or act a certain way, even right now, during a pandemic. It's normal to be stressed, to have less energy to do your normal activities; it’s perfectly normal to not even be able to do most of what you did before, to be less active, or to eat more. The world is not “normal” anymore, and we don’t have to be “normal”. We have to be safe, and we have to keep others safe. We can’t even go to the grocery store or to school. Everything is closed. So why are we putting pressure on ourselves to take advantage of this time to change our bodies?  

Please, if you want to change the way you look, do it. But don’t do it for society, don’t do it because you think you’ll be happier, or to fit in, and don’t do it because you think you’re not good enough. You have to love who you are and what you look like before so that you can appreciate what you’ll be after. You’re never going to be satisfied with how you change until you can accept how you are.

If you’re displeased with what I wrote, curious for more, or you don’t believe me, this article (here), by Erin Hanson, illustrates why your reflection in the mirror is the least interesting thing about you, and why it will always be.

I am currently majoring in Integrative Biology at Michigan State University. Recently I have been interested in learning about mental and physical health, nutrition, and overall self-care. I enjoy learning about pretty much everything and hope to find a career in research or education. When I'm not in class or studying I am driving around town, listening to music, trying new recipes, or scrolling through Instagram.
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