Residual Self Image.
Anyone who has gone through some kind of physical change can certainly agree: the residual mental self image you tote around in your head takes a while to change to match your physical appearance. Memory and mental image are strong forces that are difficult to change. The body is quite malleable and can adapt to new circumstances (like starting an exercise routine), while the mind is a whole other hurdle altogether.
One of my good friends has told me that I have really nice legs, but I have a hard time convincing myself that he’s right. It’s that pesky residual self image I have that tells me that I do not have nice legs and I should not be showing them off. Lately, it’s been getting a little easier to wear skirts that end above my knees simply because my friend’s compliments have given me the confidence to do it. It’s as if I depend on the fact that someone other than my brain has said that I look nice, so therefore, I must look nice. I could always argue with myself and tell myself that he’s simply confused and is seeing things, but I chose to take him at his word. Why else would he tell me that I have nice legs, unless I actually did?
I still find myself surprised at how I look in photos and even more surprised when people tell me I look good. I know that it’s only a matter of time before my mind catches up with my actual appearance, but I keep wanting to hurry up the process. Ha, I suppose that the nice compliments I get from time to time help a lot and keep my mind aware that it’s not entirely there yet. It’s not like I have low self-esteem or anything; in fact, it’s probably the opposite! Either way, it’s just nice to hear compliments from people on things that I never used to be complimented on.