Monday Motivation: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 2, 2020

Monday motivation, it’s on! We see you, struggling to get your day started and in need of a pick-me-up to launch your week on the right foot. If you’re a podcast person, listen to our Monday Matters content on our Spotify Grit Daily podcast channel. Or read on to get our Monday Motivation quick tips.

Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. Grit Daily is here to get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!

What does your reflection say?

The term itself, “reflection,” conjures up a number of connotations. It can represent a form of introspection where you are critically thinking about your past in the context of your future and next steps. Or it can be literal in reference to the image cast back by a mirror, still water or a glass window. But this is a Monday motivation column, so you know we’re not going to be talking about dictionary definitions or the science of creating reflective materials.

When you walk past a retail shop, do you find yourself looking at your reflection in the window? The Daily Mail UK conducted a survey around six years ago and the results were startling: vain men looked at themselves an average of 23 times per day whereas vain women did so 16 times per day. Around that same time, The Today Show surveyed women to get a data point that represented the average woman’s interaction with a mirror: 8 times per day was their finding. Note that these stats were collected when mobile phones were not as ubiquitous as they are today. What’s the Monday motivation translation? The numbers are likely much, much higher today.

Vanity blossoms but bears no fruit

In this era of mobile phones, looking into our reflective phone screen or taking a selfie counts towards those interactions with a “mirror.” Last year, Inc. magazine reported that 93,000,000 selfies – per day – are taken by 18 to 24-year olds. That’s a lot of “reflection.”

Here’s the ironic twist. You’d think that all those selfies and trips to the mirror (or any other reflective surface) would signify that we’re vain and very pleased with how we look. Au contraire!

Earlier this year, Monday motivation covered the topic, “vanity is not a good look.” With today’s Monday motivation column, the focus is not so much on vanity and the negative external perception that others gain towards vain people, it’s about what’s happening internally. And how what is perceived outwardly as vanity to others is actually a reflection (there’s that word again) of the negative feelings we’re experiencing inside.

Self-confidence is at the root

The year-over-year increasing number of selfies has been correlated with anxiety, depression and self-loathing. We’re in a culture of “who’s looking at me?” and it’s damaging, particularly for young girls and women. Issues with self-esteem arise in puberty which is right about the time that most teens get their first phone. And, with it, all sorts of negative implications with respect to social media make their first appearance. Hence, one of the reasons to begin reading Monday motivation columns at an early age (indeed, I share my Monday motivation column with my 14-year old stepdaughter each week).

Part of the answer lies in our ability, learned, innate or forced, to make forward progress. We shouldn’t dwell on the past yet we do. Learning from our experiences and then letting go of the negative feelings associated with those lessons learned are critical to our survival and ability to make forward progress. At the core of all of this is self-esteem and self-confidence. Despite an uptick in body-positive imagery and role models (literally, fashion models), society today can be regarded as a malevolent architect intent on eroding how we feel about ourselves.

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, [or they didn’t notice you] do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”

~John Lennon

Monday motivation tips to like what you see in the mirror

Entrepreneur magazine has ten solid tips on how to boost your self-confidence. You may also wish to consider these tips below. Monday motivation is all about YOU liking YOU for who YOU are. You’ve got to learn to like what you see in your reflection, to like who you are and to like who you’ve become.

Women, as well as men, are more conscious than ever about the effects of aging. We’ve reached a point where 16-year old girls have opted to swap out their Sweet 16 birthday parties for a botox bash. As it goes for everything in Monday motivation, too much of anything is rarely a good thing – you’ve got to like yourself but not love and obsess over yourself to the point of self-indulgent vanity.

#1 – do one thing differently

It’s Monday motivation, reflect on your past and your feelings. Ask yourself why you feel the way that you do. Then ask yourself what you can DO – not what you can change about yourself – but what you can DO to make yourself feel better about who you are. Challenge yourself to learn or do something new. Accept that there are only a small handful of people in the world who won the genetic lottery for flawless beauty. Think about what you can do with what you have to work with.

#2 – put some joy into your step

Joy? How can you consider being joyful when you’re depressed about how you look which is exacerbating the negative feelings you already have and making you feel worse every time that you look in a mirror or at a photo of yourself? Last year, we dedicated a Monday motivation column on tips to find joy in your life. Try those! Today, we’re suggesting that you get out of bed, get showered and put your favorite outfit on. That will put a bounce into your step.

Oh, your favorite outfit no longer fits? That’s another topic but you have to discipline yourself to not transform negative feelings into reasons to eat. It’s hard. I hear you. Put on your next favorite outfit that does fit. Start there.

#3 – read something inspirational

In today’s era of self-publishing, with nearly two million new books hitting Amazon each year, just about everyone who has a story is sharing it. There are countless examples of people who have beat the odds. Survivors who endured years of captivity, people born without limbs finding a way to become incredible artists, depressed people who have attempted to die by suicide only to disfigure themselves in the process and they’re now dedicated to helping others.

You don’t even need to read a book by one of these incredible people; just scan the titles and you will see countless examples of people who have overcome impossible odds. Taken in that context, you will be inspired – and never look at yourself the same way again.

Monday motivation parting thoughts

At first glance, of course, some people are superficial and will make a judgment based solely on your appearance. But those aren’t the people in your inner circle, they don’t see you for who you are. You have to project who you are. And you need to be proud of that person you are. The glow that shines inside you is the one that people will be drawn to long enough to stick around and get to know who – not what – is behind that glowing reflection.

Image by JJ Jordan from Pixabay 

By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Dr. Loralyn Mears is a Columnist at Grit Daily and a podcast host (The Grit Files, which aims to shine the spotlight on female founders). She is a content marketer, founder of the WORKtech startup, STEERus, specializing in personal and professional development to address gaps in soft skills - communication in particular. In her consultancy practice, she helps clients with content and strategy. Loralyn spent over a decade playing with mosquito DNA, got her PhD, decided she would rather market science than be at the bench and has never looked back. Along the way, she’s wined and dined her way around the globe. She's authored two books, including the 2018 Gold Medal Indie Book award-winning, One Sip At a Time: a Memoir and the hard science thriller, "The Battle for Humanity: How Science Saved Us." 

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