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For many of us growing up, the time we spent in front of the mirror was filled with judgment, negativity and nitpicking. I remember looking in the mirror during recess in second grade and fixating on how my legs looked. As we get older, the thoughts only get harsher, and it’s hard to look in the mirror without those negative words slipping back into our minds. A couple of years ago I got fed up with being my own harshest critic and had to let go of a lot of perceptions I had about who I should be. Every now and again those thoughts will always slip back in, but I’ve gathered a few tools to help make my experience in the mirror more positive, and I hope they can do that for you, too.

Notes of Positive Affirmations

Write out notes of positive affirmations. Our eyes will naturally read words in front of us. Having notes complimenting your beauty, strength and individuality forces you to read them internally every time you see yourself. Even on days when we won’t fully believe it, it’s nice to hear and affirm.

Go Easy on Your Younger Self

Put up a picture of yourself as a young child. When you’re spewing negative self-talk, remember that child will always be apart of you, and you’d never talk to them with such harsh words. Go easy on them, and in turn, yourself. 

Representation of Your Reflection 

Put up pictures of other people who represent your version of beautiful. Often times, images we see in the media don’t reflect the things we see in ourselves. I’ve always had scarring on my face from years of acne, but even in commercials for acne treatments, I didn’t see other people who had that. It led me to believe everyone had doll smooth skin. Finding a community of women on Instagram who posted their acne and scarring proudly made me realize it was nothing to be ashamed of, and that I wasn’t alone in dealing with it.

Sing and Dance It Out 

Music helps us express things we didn’t know could be brought to words. Listening to anthems of confidence and expression in the mirror helps us to associate them with ourselves. Even if it’s just singing an upbeat song that makes you laugh to your reflection, it’s a way to bring the focus off of fixating on things that bring you down.

If You Can’t Do It, Your Alter Ego Can

Channel an alter ego. The biggest way I’ve gained the confidence I have now is by living by the statement “Fake it ’til you make it.” You might have issues with believing in your own beauty in the mirror, but your ultra-confident alter ego doesn’t. This could also be used with music to help guide you. I love listening to “On The Loose” by Niall Horan and channeling the girl he’s talking about. Although it’s not who I am, for a moment, it helps me step outside of anything going on in my head. 

We all have different things that can bring us down, so we all have different things that will bring us up! These are just a few things that have guided me through the dark tunnel and toward the light (ring-lit mirror, that is). 

Kelly is a Junior majoring in English on the creative writing track. She has a dangerous habit of daydream scrolling through designer clothing and a hobby of recreating the pieces herself with her sewing machine and an iced coffee on stand-by. Her heart belongs to her black lab and pit bull mix Leia (named after the princess). She has dreams of writing for a major fashion publication one day and plans to dramatically journal in her bedroom in the meantime. You can find her on Pinterest planning her next big adventure or pretending to be on it already at world showcase in Epcot.
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