The image that we see in the mirror is different for everyone. For some, we see clearly what we look like, for others, the image is distorted. The reflection looking back is viewed through a filter of society's expectations and with that, our perception of the way we look changes.
I have spoken about this previously in my post The Image in the Mirror
What particularly interests me however is the way in which that society filter disappears when we look at our friends and the ones we love. We do not judge them by the way that society judges us, we love them for who they are and we appreciate their own beauty. We do not see the so called imperfections that we see in ourselves.
I was chatting the other day to a woman that I know well. She was telling me about a brilliant night out she had been on with some friends. She then proceeded to show me a photograph taken of her with her friends saying "Look how horrible and fat I look compared to them".
I looked at the photograph and saw a gorgeous, happy, smiling woman.
A thought then occurred to me and I asked her to tell me what she would think if she and another person saw a photograph of me and that other person commented how fat I was and how horrible I looked.
Immediate anger crossed her face and she said something along the lines of "Just let them say something like that in front of me!"
This, right here, is the most complex issue that needs to be dealt with. Thinking it completely unacceptable to insult me, a woman much fatter than her, yet it was perfectly acceptable for her to act that way towards herself.
This does not just happen between my friend and I, it happens everywhere. Women judging themselves, picking apart their appearances and hating themselves for the way they look yet also simultaneously knowing that such hate is wholly wrong. Two exact forms of hate, kept in a perfect balance, until you point it out.
Contrary to the popular belief, I think that people need to look in the mirror more, not less. Get comfortable with the way you look. Take that selfie, take a thousand of them. Embrace that face that is uniquely yours and recognise the beauty within it.
Look at your body, remember how far it has taken you, what it helps to you accomplish every single day. Look at the things that you love about it. Aside from your mind, it is the most precious thing you have and will be with you your whole life.
There are no wrong features and there is no wrong way to look. Our uniqueness is beautiful. The red freckle on the end of my nose that I used to hate and cover hastily with makeup is now loved. It is distinctive to me and a part of me.