I'm not heavy in to mirrors in my house. In fact, we don't even own a full-length mirror. Full length mirrors tend to depress me, so I avoid them wherever possible. My philosophy is: If I'm looking good from the neck up, then I'm good to go. I can always count on my kids for brutal truth in terms of my general appearance. I don't need much more feedback than that.

Blessed with a normal metabolism, good genes, and a family who maintained healthy relationships with food and body image, I never struggled with my weight. Although in spite of my blessed upbringing and DNA, I found plenty of time to fuss over the marginal "problem areas" in my appearance. That low-level fussing over my weight stayed at a quiet simmer on the back burner of my consciousness since my pre-teen-age years; never enough a nuisance to get me to actually do anything about it, but just enough to keep me from gazing adoringly into mirrors for any length of time.

Full length mirrors tend to depress me, so I avoid them wherever possibleIt wasn't until I married and started making babies that I was alerted to the disturbing, retrospective reality of how good I had had it in those pre-baby years. That quiet simmer has turned into more of a rolling boil over the past few years with the stark realization that save minor cosmetic surgery, compulsive gym attendance and complete commitment to a self-denial, I mean weight loss program, I will likely never have a figure like I used to again.

Just last week, I spun myself into a hot tizzy after an unfortunate encounter with a full length mirror in the changing room of our local swimming pool. That distorted visual-overload had me reeling in a downward spiral for hours and even warranted an over-seas call to my Mom to talk me down from the precarious mental ledge I had plunked myself upon.

"Mom, I'm misshapen."

"Sarah, your eight months pregnant," she said.

"Yeah, but still."

Hence, my full-bodied embrace of the "what you don't see won't hurt you" policy. That is, until my recent discovery of an alleged trick mirror in our vacation suite. It was the most flattering mirror I've ever seen, and wonder of wonders, I actually enjoyed looking at myself in that mirror. It was positively fabulous.

In all fairness, let the record state that this mirror did not completely distort my physical reality. I mean, I was still eight months pregnant, still a brunette. But, in stark contrast to all the other treacherous mirrors I've known that have an uncanny knack for accentuating and reflecting the most undesirable aspects of the body, this mirror highlighted the best of what I had, and made me the best looking version of my physical self.

On our way out to a fresh spring for the afternoon with my husband, I nearly skipped out of our suite, feeling so light and beautiful. Although I don't fancy myself a particularly superficial woman, (although I admit to moments of extreme vanity) I was amazed by how I allowed this positive feedback to affect my whole being. I began to feel weightless and flooded by positivity (no small feat for a woman, eight months pregnant with her fifth child, in Israel, in July). I began to entertain the possibility that this was the One, True mirror, and all the other mirrors that I had known had been shamefully lying all these years. Finding this mirror made me feel as if I had discovered some marvelous "glitch in the matrix." I was on to something.

I was amazed by how I allowed this positive feedback to affect my whole beingAll this self-approving-mirror-loving energy got me to thinking about the people in my life who reflect the best of me and my family and the value of those that don't. What a marvelous world it would be if we could all afford each other the generosity that hallowed mirror afforded me. To see beyond the wrinkles, the protrusions, the undesirables, and focus instead on all the good that is there; to highlight that in each other. I've begun to think about the areas in my life where I could reflect a more positive and generous attitude towards my family and towards the world.

The Ba'al Shem Tov has a beautiful teaching on the subject of mirrors. He explains that when we see negative qualities in others, the only reason why it is recognizable to us is because we possess those very qualities. In other words, when we see schmutz on the face in the mirror in front of us, cleaning the mirror isn't going change the fact that our face is dirty. Likewise, the good we see in others is only a reflection of the good within us, that's how we can recognize it, because it's familiar to us.

None of us ultimately want to be trapped in eye the flattering mirror, because there are areas of ourselves that do need more careful scrutiny and improvement. But in the same vein, it's extremely difficult to really grow and thrive while under the constant onslaught of negative feedback from distorted sources, our own eyes included…

When the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was a young child, his father, the Rebbe Rashab, taught him that we were given two eyes for two very different purposes; our left eye, to look at ourselves critically, and our right to look at others with kindness. I think most of us have no problem with the self-critical left eye – we're good that, maybe too good. But we need to try and become the most flattering mirror we can be for each other. By seeing the good outside of ourselves, we will automatically fortify the good within us.