Smile at the mirror


Stella Herman

Dani Minarik smiles at herself in the mirror but only sees a flawed reflection.

Stella Herman

A message to kids in high school- nobody cares as much as you do

   Staring at herself in the mirror, Samantha sees her hair falling out of her bun, the stain on her sweatpants, the pimple on her chin. She feels insecure. I don’t want anyone to see me today. She walks into school, head down, trying not to get noticed. Her crush looked over at her and then started talking to his friends. Oh my gosh, they are definitely judging me. She feels uncomfortable. She stares blankly at Ben as she feels herself burning up. Samantha cares a lot about how other people see her. I am so embarrassed, I want to get picked up, I’m freaking out.

   Staring at himself in the mirror, Ben sees his hair is a bit messy today, he has already worn these sweatpants this week, his zipper is broken on his jacket. He feels insecure. I do not want people to see me today. He walked into school, head down, trying not to get noticed. Oh my gosh, I see my crush. Wow, that shirt looks good on her. Ben leans over and tells his friend. Wait, why is Samantha glaring at me? She must have noticed my sweatpants or something. Ben’s mood gets ruined and he is short with his peers the rest of the day.

   These two individuals struggle with self image and identity. They have a “dictator” mindset, rather than an “adviser” one. They are letting other people’s opinions consume them and they’re confident. In our generation today, we struggle to prevent how other peoples comments and looks can change how we view ourselves. We let other people’s unfair judgment become our own insecurities.

   Taylor Boro, a school counseling intern at West Ottawa High School, shares some information about self image that could support what is being gathered from the previous opposing perspectives. “A brain rooted in fixed mindset-type thinking tends to act as a ‘dictator,’ meaning it directs your thoughts and feelings about yourself without much wiggle room. A brain rooted in growth mindset-type thinking tends to act as an ‘adviser,’ meaning it acknowledges the negative thoughts but actively works to challenge them. It’s easy for our brains to become stuck in “dictator” mode (fixed mindset), which creates tunnel vision in our brains and focus is placed on ourselves rather than balanced with others.”

   We deserve to look at ourselves the way we look at others. We should learn to not be so rude to ourselves. We only get one body, one face. Value it because we have no idea how many other people do too.

   Nobody says it better than Jo Fisher:

“Nobody’s staring as much as you think,

and nobody cares about you.

Life’s too short not to wear it or do it;

too short not to try something new.


Stop spending your hours thinking of them,

so certain they’re watching, agog;

they’re too busy writing and chanting their own

internally harsh monologue.


We’re all the lead cast in our own little story;

the hero, the centre, the core;

but don’t expect them to forfeit their very own plotline

and read from the pages of yours.


One of the secrets of growing up, love,

that we so rarely remember to mention:

move the spotlight from them back onto yourself;

be the focus of your own sweet attention.”

   Samantha learned that she has a lot of worth and a pimple will never take away from how people see her. Ben realized that he will wear what he is comfortable in because if someone is judgy enough to make a negative comment, then that is a poor reflection on their own character and he doesn’t want to surround himself with them anyway. They finally found their deserved confidence in themselves and were able to approach each other. Update, in case any was wondering, they are now dating!