On Saturday, July 3rd we celebrate National Compliment Your Mirror Day. We all need a little reminder to be kind to ourselves and appreciate all of the facets that make us, us. Compliment Your Mirror Day is intended to encourage self-acceptance and boost self-esteem. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines self-acceptance as a relatively objective sense or recognition of one’s abilities and achievements in addition to the acknowledgment of one’s limitations. Self-acceptance is often viewed as a major component of mental health.
We often evaluate our self-worth based on physical appearance and personal achievements, but there is so much more to take into account! Your value does not diminish if you make a mistake or are unhappy with the weight displayed on the scale. We get so caught up in what is going poorly and let the negatives outweigh the positives. These actions spiral into negative self-image and poor self-esteem. It is important to realize that compliments will not change your physical appearance, nor are they meant to. Instead, complimenting yourself aims to recognize your inner strengths and hidden beauties that may be easily forgotten in our image-driven world.
A few ways to practice self-acceptance include:
- Set realistic goals for yourself. You have the right to want to change something if you are unhappy. You could even create a plan of how you might achieve these goals. Remember, it’s okay to lower your expectations for yourself and/or modify your goals, be patient.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. No matter how big or small your victories are, take the time to highlight the positives. Make a list and continue to add to it!
- Identify your strengths and areas of growth. Ask yourself what things you’re good at or love to do. In contrast, what are things you’re not so good at and tend to lead to getting down on yourself? Put your energy into the activities that make you feel good.
- Embrace what makes you unique. Our society tends to scrutinize what makes people different. Change your outlook on your differences. Identify how your differences benefit you and why you value them.
- Let go of things you cannot change. Some things are simply out of our control, it is important to let go of these things and not dwell on the past. We do, however, have control of how we think, feel, and behave moving forward. A helpful exercise might be to write a letter to your past self or future self. Mention three things you love about yourself in these letters.
But what about body image? I know, the dreaded question a lot of us get hung up on
when we notice imperfections about our bodies. Summertime attire isn’t the most comfortable when you’re not exactly happy with your reflection in the mirror. It’s time to change your mindset on what you’re “supposed to” look like. Images in the media have brainwashed us to believe that thinner is better, prettier, and more desired. Screw that! Not only are those photos photoshopped and fake, but they have taught us to have highly unrealistic expectations of what our bodies are supposed to look like. Instead of promoting these ideals, challenge them. Help yourself and others feel confident in their skin and accept what their body looks like. Your value, worth, and beauty have nothing to do with your weight.
Self-acceptance is not an easy journey, you may encounter a few obstacles. It’s okay to lose motivation, after all, we are only human. The continual process of learning to love yourself inside and out involves a lot of mental adjustments. Our lives are a constant work in progress, cut yourself some slack. Listen to yourself and what you need to embrace yourself fully. Now, go look in a mirror and give that beautiful person looking back at you a well-deserved compliment!
By Victoria Reid, MHC Intern