How do you talk to yourself? When you look in the mirror, do you shower yourself with love and praise or do you pick out (and on) a perceived deficiency de jour? I wish I could say that I always shower myself with positive vibes, but a few weeks ago I caught myself saying exactly this:
“Nice. You’ve gained weight, dumbass.”
Wow. Seriously? Wow.
Okay, so, yeah, I put on a few kilos over the summer. I spent an awful lot of time at the beach and wound up being ‘adopted’ at one of the beach houses, whose staff decided that I needed food and drinks at the end of each visit. Pacing myself has never been one of my strong suits, and so I finished the summer around 10 kilos heavier than I started it.
Ten kilos? In the grand scheme of things, that’s really a ‘meh’ problem. Simply cutting out the problem beverages will see the rest of the weight dropping off like yesterday’s clothing. Logically, I know this. Losing weight isn’t an issue; I’ve already walked 136 km this month and the month is still young. No, the problem is the inner talk.
“Nice. You’ve gained weight, dumbass.”
I wouldn’t have a problem at all were the statement to have began and ended with, “You’ve gained weight.” That would have been an accurate observation from which plans could be drawn to rectify the oopsie. Alas, it started out with, “Nice.” Can you hear the tone? That condescending tone? How about that “dumbass”? Ouch.
Of all the things I’d like to have thought I’d gotten right by now, it’s how to address myself with love, patience and acceptance. Yet, standing in front of the mirror, judgment and disparagement came forth. Wow. I was shocked. I caught the words and gave myself a gentle admonishment for speaking out of a negative space. And yet … I know deep down inside that there’s inner work to be done to get past this one.
I know I’m not alone with this scenario. I think it’s fair to say that many of us find the mirror to be a place of judgment, disparagement and dismissal. It should be a place of loving recognition and support. And it can be, but we need to learn to set aside the judgment and replace it with offerings of love.
Judgment — something about which I’ve written on the site before — tends to be a major component of Western cultures. Judgment can be a valuable tool in recognizing and responding to threats. When coupled with guilt, however, the results are always, without exception, negative. Judgment, berating and guilt are a circle of destruction that an unfortunate many of us know all too well. There is hope, though. Overcoming negative inner talk is as easy as learning to make the mirror your friend.
Louise Hay has created a 21-day Mirror Work program that literally teaches us how to see ourselves differently in the mirror and to use effective affirmations towards ourselves. It is a hands-on approach to reframe your relationship with Self that involves surprisingly little effort. The essential component is to state positive affirmations about and to yourself any time you see your reflection.
Some people might find it initially awkward to make statements of love and acceptance to their image in the mirror, but such awkward feelings are quickly resolved with a little practice. As we get used to purposefully and consciously expressing love towards ourselves, we learn to step out of the role of judge and nurture Self. The work becomes play as we become accustomed to unconditionally accepting who we see in the mirror. Over the course of three weeks, you’ll see — and feel — your relationship with your Self change. It is a wonderful thing to experience.
If you’d like to give mirror work a try, I heartily recommend it. It can be a profound experience that releases all manner of negative emotions and self-perceptions. The course, offered by Hay House, can be found here:
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