Mirrors are everywhere, in our homes, stores, restaurants and even in parks. They are both a necessity and a tool. For some people, mirrors reveal their inadequacies, failures, and flaws. It is possible to look past our imperfections and just sit with ourselves in compassion and self-love. But first, we have to learn how to view our reflection without judgment.
Children & Mirror Play
Babies and young children love to look at themselves on any reflective surface. Not only is it fun, but this is their first experience with self-awareness. They make faces, giggle, dance around and even chat with the “other” baby. When we were young, we were best friends with our reflection. We looked for him or her in windows, still water, on the back of spoons and just about anywhere we could see ourselves. Looking back at us, we saw another happy child, smiling and silly. We didn’t see flaws or stress about our appearance.
Eyes Are the Window to the Soul
Most people are familiar with the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. It may sound cliche but human eyes can speak volumes without the person ever saying a word. Our eyes provide quite a bit of information about how we feel at that moment. When someone feels joy, we refer to them as “bright-eyed.” If they are angry, their eyes are dark and narrowed. Pupils change shape with a change of emotion. Sad or concerned eyes are often downcast and teary. Even blinking (or lack of) tells onlookers something is going on. Holding back blinks is typical of a person trying to hide their emotions.
Make Eye Contact with Yourself
Are you ready to look into your own eyes with kindness and compassion? Choose a room or space with a mirror that is quiet and will remain undisturbed for at least 10 minutes. Sit or stand in front of the mirror, whichever is more comfortable. Then take a long look at yourself in the mirror without checking your hair or acknowledging your newest wrinkle. Focus your attention on the depths of your eyes. This work may be difficult at first because it has become the norm to look at your reflection and pick yourself apart. Instead, you are here to sit with yourself and tune into what you are feeling.
Self-Adoration or Self-Love?
Mirror work is a form of self-care. Don’t worry; no one has become vain or narcissistic from doing mirror work. This time is your own to rest and relax in your presence. Feel free to talk to yourself like you would a friend. Offer yourself positive affirmations, remind yourself to look at the silver lining when things go array. Allow your struggles and pain to flow, open a discussion about it with your reflection. Cry if you need to. Discuss your mistakes and shortcomings that you haven’t let go of yet. Over time, this sitting with yourself will become natural and you’ll slowly cease being so self-critical.
Heal Yourself with Mirror Work
After looking in your mirror, you may find that your face tells a lot about how you feel and how you’ve been living your life. You may have a sense of sadness or discontent after realizing you have been putting on an act to please others. Modern life is so full of distractions and rushing around that your authentic self may have gotten lost along the way. That’s okay; acknowledge it and move on.
Soon, you’ll find that you no longer need other people to validate your feelings or choices. You’ll stop seeking acknowledgment from others because you are seen and heard by your reflected self. You can spend time doing things you enjoy rather than participate in ‘man-made busyness’ to distract yourself from negative thoughts, anxiety, and stress. Your daily visit to the mirror will not only help you build your self-confidence but will improve your relationships as well. Learning to validate yourself and find value in who you are changes you and your relationships for the better.