When's the last time you looked in the mirror and viewed your body objectively? Is it even possible?

I've been thinking about this all week, after I got a copy of author Christina Katz's e-zine. In it, she spoke about the value of detachment for writers. It's an interesting concept: Learning to take that "mental step back" and look at a situation without the haziness of emotion. I'll admit I'm an emotional person and sometimes struggle with this. But there's real value in training yourself to see things more clearly.

I think it has value in how we see our bodies, too. But it's incredibly difficult.

Think about it: You go shopping for a new swimsuit or professional outfit. As you try on the options in the fitting room, it can be tough to evaluate how you look without opening the floodgates of self-criticism. It can be hard to simply say, "This skirt isn't flattering" or "This is not my best look" without launching the "My arms are too skinny, my thighs are too fat, my belly sticks out..." tape -- whatever yours may say -- that so often plays in an endless loop in our brains.

A friend shopping with you can easily say, "That looks great" or "Nah" to an outfit because she's detached. She doesn't experience what it's like to live in your body and to feel your feelings.

Cultivating a sense of detachment toward our own bodies -- while difficult -- can be a useful tool. It requires acknowleding who we are and what our bodies look like, and accepting ourselves just as we are. It also requires seeing the limits we sometimes place on ourselves because of how we feel about the way we look -- and consciously choosing to step around those limits.

Very tricky, indeed. But it is possible.

Ever had the experience of catching a glimpse of yourself in an unguarded moment -- a store window, maybe -- before you realize that the woman you see is you? That's the detached moment...where you see that woman without the emotion, self-criticism and judgment that too often accompanies a glance in the mirror.

It's an elusive moment to grasp. But definitely one worth cultivating.

How about you? Do you feel that you're able to view your body objectively?

About the Author

Dara Chadwick

Dara Chadwick is the author of You'd Be So Pretty If… :Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies—Even When We Don't Love Our Own.

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