The Mirror Exercise

This is an oldie but goodie. Its simplicity belies its power.

Regardless of how easy it is to lie to someone else, it’s much, much harder to lie to ourselves. At least, it’s much harder when we’re actively paying attention.

Find a mirror & some personal space. Look yourself in the eyes, & say “I love you.”

That’s it. Just say that. Over & over. Out loud. Try to mean it, feel it.

Now, don’t be surprised if you find this difficult. Saying it & really meaning it will often trigger things deep within us. Doubts, fears, negative self-image, and so on.

pic by leenah

Deep down, everyone harbours dark thoughts about themselves.

That’s ok. The important thing is just to be sincere. If saying “I love you” is too difficult, start small.

“You have nice hands”
“Your hair doesn’t totally suck”
“Umm, nice socks”

It really doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s better to say something small & seemingly irrelevant with deep conviction than something stronger with no energy behind it.

Some tips:

  • Compliment yourself sincerely.
  • Be specific, go into details.
  • Keep eye contact, don’t let your eyes gaze over.
  • Use your name, like you’re talking to another person.
  • Mix it up – try to think of every positive thing you possibly can about yourself.
  • Be persistent, don’t be afraid to say the same thing over & over if you feel things shifting
  • If any emotion or tension arises, this is good. Just accept it, & let it go.

The important thing is just to give yourself approval, no matter how small. Larger things will come easier with time.

The other thing that will make a big difference? Do it for a while. More than just a minute or two. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour or longer if you can manage it.

I know when I first started doing this – I couldn’t even look myself in the eye. I’d catch myself looking away, or blinking. It was quite surreal. When I finally managed to hold my own gaze, I felt I couldn’t say “I love you” without feeling like a phoney. Another surprise. Then, I just felt waves of emotion cascading out of me. Tears. Relief, then finally joy & peaceful self-acceptance.

Anytime you want to feel good about yourself, this is a sure fire way to do it.

It’s surprising, but such a simple little thing as giving ourselves genuine approval is some of the most powerful self-healing we can do.