Updated: Nov 28, 2022
Many of you may know that the late Louise Hay developed and coined a term 'Mirror Work' to help herself and then others learn to love themselves and subsequently feel positive, motivated, and so on. Mirror work is you saying positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror each day. Research shows this has some affect on self-esteem and thought processes. Seems simple.
Why don't we all do it then?
The idea is deeper than you think. Let's drill down to see what mirror work really entails. You are to look at yourself in the mirror, not to find flaws, put on make up, make sure your hair looks okay, or to be critical of yourself. The idea is to look at yourself for who you are. This is me. Look at yourself as others look at you. See yourself. You could start with just your face. Just spend time looking at you. Most people avoid just looking at themselves in the mirror though. It makes them feel uncomfortable.
Now, after you look at yourself, don't say positive affirmations to just say happy things. Some people do that, which is fine. It just isn't exactly mirror work. Now, pick a goal that is something you want to really feel and believe about yourself. It could be "I love myself". It could be "I am powerful". Look at yourself in the eye in the mirror and say only what you truly believe and feel in your heart. Find the most positive spin you can in relation to your goal, but only say what you really can feel. Whatever your goal is, the idea is to start where you are. Here is a personal example:
A much younger me wanted to use mirror work and learn to say and feel that "I love myself". I looked at myself in the mirror, and I knew I did not feel that I loved myself. I did not feel worthy of love or being loved. I could hardly look at myself for any length of time. I certainly did not want to look in my eyes and hear my voice at the same time. Who talks to themselves anyway? I wanted to feel loved, but I did not love myself. I could feel that. So, I did not say, "I love you" to myself in the mirror in hopes that one day I would love myself. Instead, I said the most positive thing I could find, something I really felt. I was able to look at myself that first time and simultaneously speak out loud to myself when looking at myself. What I could honestly say to myself, that I also truly believed in my heart, was "You are not a bad person."
I did not feel I was a good person. I didn't love myself. I don't even know if I liked myself at that time. But I honestly believed I was doing my best, and I could not be considered a bad person. That's where I started. I cried. Feeling and knowing this was harder than I thought, but I started on a path toward self love using mirror work. Looking at myself and telling myself that I am NOT a bad person was where I had to start. I surprised myself that day. I had no idea I was far from loving myself.
Why I had the notion that I might be a bad person is not the point. Revisiting childhood traumas or events or reasons I felt ashamed is not the point. The point is to start where you are, acknowledging yourself, talking to yourself in the mirror, as if you are someone who is worthy of being looked at and spoken to in kind ways - because you are.
Today, I can look at myself, even if I just woke up, and tell myself, "I love you darling. You're beautiful. You are amazing and fun." And I mean it. I feel it, and it feels good. It affects how I carry myself, and how I interact with others. It reminds me that talking to myself in positive ways is worth doing, and worth teaching other people.
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Can you imagine the effects of teaching children to do this, so it is not needed by the time they become adults? If your children tell themselves positive things in the mirror everyday, and feel it and believe it, it is highly likely that when someone, even their parents, tell them they are not worthy, they won't believe them. They will also learn that what they think and feel matters more than seeking the approval of others. Maybe that is motivation enough to get started yourself.
Please reach out today if you would like to talk to someone professionally trained to help you learn to love yourself.