Is the such a thing as sub-pathological body dysmorphic disorder? Can it be a disorder if you think you look better than you do? I ask because....
In my last post I said I looked fat in a picture, now I know part of that is the camera angle, clothing, etc. but part of it is my image of myself. Most of the time when I look in the mirror I see myself basically they way I've seen myself since I was 17 or so. A size 12/14, pale, with bad acne. That's what I expect and if I don't look too hard it's what I see. Sometimes when I look at the mirror I see myself as I am now or maybe even a little bigger (for measurements see this post). When that happens I think "I fat!" or "This outfit makes me look huge!" (usually followed by "oh well, I'm dressed now.") But most of the time I barely notice my waistline, just whether or not my clothes still fit it.
With my skin it's even weirder. I know my acne is WAY better than when I was a teenager (Look at the before pictures on a Proactiv commercial, that was me.) but I got kind of numb to it so I still don't notice my skin much. Years ago, I'd have to concentrate on what I saw in the mirror before going to the dermatologists to decide if it looked "better, worse, or about the same as the previous three months" (the doc asked that every time). I usually could not have given a accurate answer; I always said 'about the same.' This morning I really looked at my face for a minute because it was a little dry/tight and it made me think about it. But most days I just see 'my face' and don't see the details. When I put on make-up or pluck eyebrows, I'm only concentrating on a small part at a time so small flaws stand out or I just discount the good. I know other people often can't see the scar in my left eyebrow but it jumps out at me (line of no hair, not really a flaw just an oddity.)
I guess this is why it is good to see a picture of yourself every once in a while. Because most of us don't see ourselves as other do, at least figuratively and some of us literally.
P.S. I'm still pale.