Minding the Man in the Mirror

08/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

It is likely that you have been inundated with Michael Jackson news. Regardless, it's important to comment on a photo collage of Michael Jackson in the recent edition of People magazine. The collage showed the changes in Michael Jackson's appearance from his childhood to recent years.

One can't help but be intrigued and ponder these photos. We don't know exactly why his appearance changed so much over the years. We can only speculate. But, the photos do suggest that Michael struggled with significant body image issues. Being male, rich and a celebrity did not protect him from significant problems with his appearance.

What is clear is that there became a point where Michael did not seem to see himself as others did. This may be a feeling that is familiar to you if you have an eating issue or struggle with your body image. Perhaps your boyfriend says he loves your body when you hate it and constantly want to go on a diet. Or, you are really bothered by some feature of yourself (like your chin or thighs) when other people don't really seem to notice it as much as you do. In extreme cases, such as with eating disorders, other people say you are too thin when you don't see that at all.

It would be nice if sometimes we could see ourselves like other people do. Almost to a fault, we are much harsher on ourselves than others. Sometimes you may be able to see yourself through the eyes of a parent or a spouse and sometimes not. When you've lost all ability to do this, it can become dangerous, as in Michael Jackson's case. His apparent pursuit to change his appearance seemed to be more detrimental than helpful. You see the picture of Michael as a kid and think, "what a cute little, happy kid." The most dramatic change, of course, was his nose. By the last picture, it was clear that his nose may not have even been functional.

Accepting ourselves is a challenge. But, seeing yourself accurately and the way that people who love you see you is important. So the next time you are knit picking your appearance while you are looking in the mirror, imagine what someone who loves you would say about the man (or woman) in the mirror.