Body Image/Healthy Body/My Life/Teen Life

What Taylor Swift Taught Me About Self-Worth

“When you look into the mirror you need to NOT tell yourself that you’re not special, that you’re not pretty, that you’re not good enough.” -Taylor Swift

I stumbled across this incredible quote on YouTube. Taylor Swift told this to a crowd of her biggest fans in Manchester.

As I listened to her, I immediately wanted get up, punch the air and yell “PREACH TAYLOR!” as I heard her articulate what I had been learning this summer.

Real talk: I struggle with envy. I often find myself playing the comparison game.

I look at them. I look at the mirror. And then it begins.

A quiet but nagging voice in my head tells me, “Look at her, you will never be as pretty as her,” “look at him, you never get attention like that from your friends,” or “there is no way you will be successful as them, look at you, of course you won’t.”

So I gave up looking at myself in the mirror this summer.
And not just the mirror.
I gave up looking at my reflection,
in windows, in other people’s sunglasses, checking myself out in selfies, and even in pictures people posted of me on Instagram.

It all started when Paul, a friend of mine, jokingly pointed out every time I checked myself out. So I started doing the same to him. And after a few days we realized all that mirror checking was a little ridiculous.

So we made a pact. We would secretly give up looking at our reflection for six weeks. We called it a mirror fast.

It wasn’t easy.
I was just so used to looking at a mirror as I brushed my teeth, did my hair, got dressed, passed by a mirror, window, or any other reflective surface.

And when I saw my friends lookin’ real good, I couldn’t immediately check to see if my appearance matched theirs. When I started a conversation with new people, I couldn’t base my confidence on how great my hair looked, or how well my outfit coordinated, because I had no way of knowing for that for sure.

When I hung out with my friends, or went to Mass, or even went on a date (that’s right ladies and gentlemen, I went on a date, having no idea what I looked like), my mirror fast forced me to focus on being present with the person in front of me.

The less I spent time thinking about how I looked, the more I felt free to be myself. I found the confidence to make corny jokes and introduce myself to more people without worrying if I would measure up to them. I was more honest about who I was on my date. And I was more joyful.

As I felt more free to be myself, it freed me to love people for who they were. Over the course of the six weeks, more and more people I started seeing people less like competition, and more like people to be valued just as they were.

My mirror fast ended. I’m back to looking at the mirror again. But something in me is different now. Some of the envy is gone. The freedom to be myself has remained. When I look in the mirror now, I am less likely to turn to comparison.

I invite and challenge you to go on a mirror fast yourself. It doesn’t have to be six weeks. It can be a day or a week. And it can bring freedom.

Taylor Swift is right. The mirror doesn’t have to be a place where we see all the ways we don’t measure up.

“When it comes to how we see ourselves, people are mean, but we’re reeallyy mean to ourselves. So its easy to get confused. When you look into the mirror you need to NOT tell yourself that you’re not special, that you’re not pretty, that you’re not good enough.
I’m going to tell you the things you are actually are not. You are not the opinion of the someone who doesn’t know you. You are not damaged goods just because you made mistakes. You are not going no where because you haven’t gotten where you want to get yet. Those are the things are actually are not.”
-Taylor Swift

About the Author

Emily Pellarin

I have a nose ring, green beans are my favorite vegetable, and I wear mismatched socks for fun. Sneaking into to old churches is a hobby of mine. I turned 13 on a parish retreat, and since then I’ve never looked back (not for too long anyway). After serving all over the country as a Life Teen Missionary, God opened the door for me to be a youth minister in my hometown. Loving the teens there is my job. It’s the best.

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