Something For Every Body: Self Reflection
(At The Mirror, Otto Dix, 1921)
By Millie Jackson
The world, like a mirror, reflects back to us who we are. Anais Nin said it well:
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are."
We have a choice whether to look at ourselves or not. I assume that all things have deeper meaning than what is at face value and that everyone and everything I encounter is showing me aspects of myself. Reflecting on my life’s circumstances and whom and what I experience expands my opportunities to learn about me.
I look at things metaphorically. This is how I see our bodies’ physical symptoms. Fixating on just the physical often misses the point. True healing can occur when the issues that underlie our physical symptomology are addressed, be they mental, emotional and/or spiritual. This may seem like a cumbersome way to experience life, but being stuck in unproductive patterns can be far more burdensome.
Have you ever looked deep into your own eyes? It was a profound experience for me, the first time I did. Louise Hay, guru of positivity, introduced me to “mirror work”, a simple yet amazingly effective tool for getting in touch with our body and improving our self-image.
In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Hay asserts that looking yourself in the eyes and making positive declarations about yourself is the quickest way to get results with affirmations. She explains that as children we often get most of our negative messages with someone looking directly into our eyes and perhaps pointing a finger at us. Consequently, when we look in the mirror we often criticize our looks or berate ourselves.
How you currently use mirrors may be actively wounding your self-image, perpetuating what you actually desire to change. What is your self-talk like in front of the mirror? “I’m old, fat, ugly…”, “I’m going to be late”, “You really made a fool of yourself last night”. Remember: If you wouldn’t say something to a friend, don’t say it to yourself (see my previous post “Positively Well” for more on affirmations).
Reclaim the mirror as a tool of empowerment. Using a mirror is free and something you already do, so it is a time and cost effective way to incorporate conscious positivity into your life. Perhaps you were taught that looking in a mirror is vain, but learning to love and accept ourselves is not vain.
Use the mirror to learn to see yourself through loving eyes, softening the inner critic. After all, who would take good care of a body they hate? End the vicious cycle of negative self-talk by saying positive affirmations while looking into your eyes.
Hay reminds us in her book, The Power Is Within You,
“When you look in the mirror and see the fat person staring back, remember that you are looking at the result of your old way of thinking…What you choose to think today will create your new figure tomorrow."
I draw upon this wisdom during times of discouragement, directing myself back into a productive foundation of positivity from which to manifest a healthier version of me. Although a common struggle, you may be fortunate not to have issues with your weight, but there are likely other areas that you could look more favorably upon yourself.
Hay suggests starting your day looking in the mirror saying
“Good morning, what can I do for you today?"
Say what you desire to hear. Throughout the day, try expressions like
“Good job”, “You’re successful”, “Hi, good-looking, you’re awesome”.
Replace disempowering labels with positive ones. “Fat thighs” can become “strong legs that carry me through the day”. Express gratitude to your body instead of criticism.
I find it helpful to simply smile at myself in the mirror. Most of us look our best with a smile on our face. This exercise is a gentle way to start working with mirrors, and it gets us accustomed to seeing ourselves happy. Smiling creates endorphins (“feel good” hormones), so this also contributes to our sense of well-being.
Start using mirrors with intentional positivity, and begin witnessing your amazing transformation. May you see the beauty of your uniqueness in all that is reflected for you!