How many times a day would you estimate you look in the mirror? One? Two? Twenty? According to a national study, most women steal a glance at themselves around eight times per day. Which actually sounds surprisingly low considering how many times we've caught our own selves glimpsing at our reflection in the coffee shop window as we pass by. Still, is it eight times too many?
What if we put down the mirrors this week? What if we trusted that, by now, we know how to slather on sunscreen or tinted moisturizer without the help of our shiny friend? Or what if we skipped the make-up regimen altogether and gained a few minutes more in our day - perhaps just enough time to finish a chapter in our latest favorite read?
It's a tall order indeed. But we've been inspired by a few brave women (a la Kjerstin and Autumn) who are saying farewell to their reflections - and hello to inner beauty, self-awareness and the world outside their own metallic wall mirrors.
Their findings are inspiring - each temporary experiment resulted in an increased self esteem, sure, but perhaps more surprisingly: increased levels of empathy for others. Their everyday experiences were heightened. And here's why, writes Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, author of The Beheld:
"When we look in the mirror, we rarely see ourselves. We are forever seeing a projection—what we wish to see, what we fear seeing, what we used to see. “The ego [as accessed through the mirror] is a product of misunderstanding, a false recognition,” Lacan writes... I’ve heard some women say mirror abstinence would rob them of a hard-won acceptance of their appearance, and I don't wish to diminish that. It's hard enough to make peace with our bodies without some writer yakking at you about Lacan. But if what the mirror gives us is imagined, I wonder how far its affirmation can take any of us.