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What if You Ceased Looking in the Mirror for a Year?

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How frequently do you look in the mirror? Beautiful? Assured? Or do you see only defects? At just the time Kjerstin Gruys needed to feel great about herself: right before her wedding, the mirror became a source of stress and low self esteem for sociology professor. So the radical decision was made by Gruys to stop looking at mirrors completely.

Gruys became worried when an eating disorder found herself obsessed with looking like the ideal bride and had previously fought her. It all started innocently enough while the eating was hunting for The Dress–the magic garment she trusted would make everyone gasp as she walked down the aisle. She found the radical choice song at a sample sale, but felt not as and less sure every time she looked in the mirror. “Trying on my wedding dress was supposed to instill confidence and anticipation for the big day, but the sight of a big belly hiding underneath the fabric was disheartening. I felt like I couldn’t breathe when it was fully zipped,” writes Gruys in her novel Mirror Mirror Off The Wall. Thinking the alternative was a new dress instead of a fresh perspective, herself purchased two more dresses. “I’d become the worst version of myself: insecure, indecisive and vain,” she says.

It’s a new trend called “mirror fasting” and it’s being embraced by women who are fed up with the constant pressure to look good. They avoid their reflection, not just in the bathroom mirror, but in shop windows, car rear-view mirrors, even cell phone screens and silverware. Credits: Could You Go Months Without Looking In A Mirror? « EZ-103.1 FM …

It was the opposite of everything Gruys believed in. The eating was studying the culture of attractiveness while working towards her PhD in sociology, learning to understand how it shapes the lives of women. Herself’d publicly lectured on the dangers of eating disorders, encouraging others to accept and celebrate their diverse bodies. “ I made it my life’s work to help women feel confident, strong and beautiful,” she says. “Yet I was still struggling to accept my own body. I was a body-image expert with a body image problem.”

Something had to change. Gruys honed in on the source of the difficulty: her obsession with her look. If the eating could get rid of the mirror, she figured, she’d rid herself of a great deal of her stress. After all, how could you obsess about your looks when you can’t see yourself? “The heart of the project was to put myself in a healthier and happier state of mind,” Gruys says.

It is human nature to review our past.  After all it is what has led us to where we are today.

Our past is familiar.  We know what happened (at least our version of what happened) and the future is unknown and scary.

Looking in our rear-view mirrors is especially common when we are coming out of a marriage or a relationship.  We play it over and over again.  What could I have done differently?  How could they have done that to me?

The danger is that we spend so much time looking at what’s behind us that we find ourselves stuck in place, or worse, we crash because we are not focused on where we are going. Credits: 7 Ways to Stop Looking in your Rearview Mirror and Focus on the …

Gruys’ novel chronicles after all year without mirrors in hilarious detail. After expanded her rule to include any reflective surface–she didn’t need to be checking herself out in passing windows. “I just cut back on what I was wearing to very sheer products,” Gruys says. “It ended up being an unexpected experiment and finding out that people don’t really care if I am wearing eyeliner or not. The beauty industry tells you that eyeliner will change your life, that this eyeliner will make a man fall in love with you and stay in love with you,” she says. “That’s obviously not true on a logical level, but when you give up the eyeliner you’ve been wearing for 10 years, you realize how powerless that eyeliner is.”

The experiment brought a chain of favorable changes on. She was focusing on getting to work rather than becoming ready, “Suddenly a big chunk of mental energy was taken off of my plate and it was fantastic. I really got into the groove with my work.”

The biggest change occurred after her wedding day. “I could just live out this new found relaxation about my looks and enjoy it and it really did confirm for me that wedding culture itself was a huge, huge issue for me,” Gruys says. She was, nevertheless, cautious of the endeavor finishing that she was in a place where she didn’t rely on mirrors to feel good (or bad) about herself. But when herself finally looked in the mirror, she just felt like she was seeing an old friend whom she’d missed.

Ultimately it was an experiment that made permanent changes. “I am a lot more relaxed about my appearance,”I look in the mirror a lot less than I used to, I just have this really powerful evidence that looking in the mirror all the time was not an improvement for my happiness—if anything it was the opposite—and frankly a waste of time considering all of the other things I really enjoy spending time on.”

Would you give up mirrors for a year?

When you are driving a vehicle down the road, you don’t focus on the rear view mirror or you would get off track and wreck.  No.  You focus on the road before you and where you are going so you can stay on course.  Credits: Stop Looking in the Rear View Mirror | Bucket Buddies® Mission

Watch this video – “No mirror makeup challenge!”:

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