I’m a self-confessed mirrorholic and it’s reflecting badly on me
Something was recently brought to my attention. And it’s something I have never thought about in much depth, until now. That is probably because it’s such an unconscious thing, a habit of mine that has nestled itself into the very foundation of my daily routine. It’s automatic, and I can’t resist.
The truth is that I am a chronic mirror checker, and the worst part is, you probably are too.
It’s an epidemic of Kardashian proportions. But the question is; is this merely an innocent habit or some form of deep-rooted vanity? Now, bear with me on this one.
Does your day begin with a sleepy smoulder into the mirror within the closest proximity to your bed? Do you steady your gaze and assess the morning damage? Right, then within a few seconds, you’ve developed a plan of action for the next…however, many minutes you’ve left yourself to get ready before you need to be elsewhere. You may even use it as a means of giving yourself that motivational morning pep-talk you’ve heard hyper-productive confidence gurus owe their success to. Anyway, I digress.
However you start your day, you’re bound to have a final once-over in a mirror before you grab your keys, tick off the mental checklist of everything you should (hopefully) have in your bag as you make a break for the door and the wider world. You may end your day in much the same way, ready to repeat the whole process tomorrow.
Now, throughout the day you will definitely need to visit a bathroom of some description. There will very likely be a mirror in the said bathroom. And you will probably check your makeup, your teeth, your lipstick, your hair or all of the above. Then, you’ll walk out and resume your life without a second thought. You might not think about the act of checking the mirror itself, but you most definitely might scrutinise what you saw in it. My job as a personal stylist means that even split-second touch-ups are a hard thing to avoid. In fact, when I think about it, I am more often surrounded by mirrors than not. It’s honestly no wonder this is becoming an issue.
The funny thing is that I would not call myself a vain person.
I’m not as confident as I could be, and I know I’ve still got a long way to go on my journey to self-love. Yet, when I think of vanity, I think of somebody who continually checks themselves out and fusses over their appearance excessively. Strangely the actions I have just described pretty much line up with what I catch myself doing on the daily. So that’s what got me thinking – do I appear vain to others? Even if my actions are coming more from a place of insecurity, can they be perceived as conceited?
Well, here’s my theory. If you aren’t friends with your reflection, being faced with it nearly everywhere can affect how you hold yourself, and how you interact with people far more than you realise. If you’ve ever thought “I was feeling alright until I caught sight of myself in the mirror”, then you’ll know what I mean. Interestingly, when you mix having physical insecurities, as so many of us do, and an abundance of mirrors together, a strange spin-off effect can occur. We feel the relentless need to, and can become dependent on, looking good. And the mirror becomes our enabler. To an extent, this is normal. Of course, everyone wants to look like, what they perceive to be, the best possible version of themselves. It only becomes a real problem when we start putting an intense amount of pressure on ourselves to be seeing exactly what we think we need to see in the mirror. In being this way, we might come across as vapid, yet it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Where body-image issues are concerned, we all just want to finally win the war with our mirrors, to be content with the person we see looking back at us. This is what I call “The Vanity Paradox”.
Mainly because our actions massively contradict the way we actually feel about ourselves, but also because I’m trying to flex that I took philosophy at school. See, I am trying to keep it light.
All jokes aside, when going without knowing how we look for a considerable length of time, both internal and external chaos can ensue. Honestly, where would we be without our front-facing camera in times of need? There’s no avoiding the fact that we have always needed this glassy validation, yet we are now more image-obsessed than ever before. I’m not going to deny that we are enabled to be this way by social media, the pressures and feelings that come with it are very real, scary and shouldn’t be trivialised or overlooked. Somewhat controversially, I blame interior designers. Someone needs to tell them to chill with the reflective décor – it’ll only encourage the severe cases.
Even if you don’t consciously analyse yourself in every single one you pass, I assure you that if you counted, you’d be shocked by how many times a day you do make use of a mirror. And I think that, in itself, is a kind of totally harmless vanity. It’s what your brain does to your reflection, or how you feel or talk about it that can get dangerous. After all, they’re very useful things to have hanging around – finding a mirror when you need one just about matches the relief of downing a tall glass of iced water on a hot day. Especially in my line of work, they are crucial in changing the way somebody sees themselves- for the better.
If utilised correctly, they can be our strongest ally.
Truthfully, I think we all need a tiny shot of vanity. I guess, like anything, it’s about getting the balance just right. It’s something you definitely don’t want too much of while at the same time it isn’t good for you to be so selfless that you never indulge in any at all. Where the mirror problem is concerned, we will just have to keep on learning to accept (and eventually enjoy) whatever is conjured up before our eyes, and get on with solving more pressing global issues. Until then, as a veteran mirror checker, I’m sorry to have to tell you it’s a habit that’s nearly impossible to shatter – unless you don’t mind the seven years bad luck that is.