Breaking Down Male Conditioning: Learning To Cry Again
September 12, 2013
On Loving Everyone
September 20, 2013

Exercise For Improving Your Self Image

Partly inspired by Dove’s viral commercial of a few months ago (actually worth watching, if critically), I came to an interesting thought while looking at myself in the mirror.

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we tend to focus on details. Details we judge as undesirable. We focus on them so deeply that they kind of expand beyond their natural dimensions and consume our face. Dove’s commercial shows this, by the way people’s self descriptions are so distorted. (No, I don’t get any money from Dove).

In my case, I tended to focus on my philtrum (the ridge between nose and lips), which I think is the most masculine part of my face.

At some point, I actually became aware of just how much I was staring at that part, and realised how strange that was. Other people don’t zoom in so intensely to my face. If I want to have an impression of how I look from the outside, I should attempt to see the whole of my face or my general impression of it, not go so deep into details.

So I did that. Mentally, I tried to “zoom out” and capture the whole of my face at once.

This exercise was a little unnatural at first, but after a few times it’s become a bit easier and more automatic. And wow, what a difference. I feel so much more attractive and less frustrated over my appearance. Sometimes I can even find myself beautiful with a beard*, by getting an overall impression of femininity from my image despite that detail to the contrary. But that comes and goes. (And my dysphoria doesn’t entirely leave me, so please don’t take that to mean transgenderism can be “cured” with self image exercises).

*Note for new readers: I’m a trans woman.

As I write this it occurs to me that sometimes we do focus on certain features of other people – usually the ones we find beautiful, particularly the eyes. So perhaps in the interest of further developing this self-esteem building practice, I can try and focus on some details I like as well as just zooming out. I’ll have to see what that feels like.

Anyway, give “zooming out” a go. And tell me what you think!


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Why Feminism (Still) Matters

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