When we ask that childhood question, most of us do not stand there confident that the answer will be us – if only that were so. For most of us, the mirror game actually gets harder and harder as we age. Our reflection seems to mock us at every chance, like some twisted fun-house image, making us far too aware of every pound, every wrinkle, and every gray hair. We are our own committee of critics, and if we’re not careful, the negative self-talk can be endless.
Give yourself a gift. First of all, get honest. What do you say to yourself when you stand in front of the mirror? Give it a try. (if you are not looking into mirrors at all, it is time to start NOW)
Spend a minute there – naked if you can. Instead of doing what you may have done before – which is be heavy and critical of what you look like, stand there for thirty seconds and just appreciate your own light, and your beautiful body.
You are gorgeous. The only reason your mind tells you otherwise is because of societal standards and norms which are not based in science or truth. In order to change your external reflection, (if that is what you want to do) you must see yourself as gorgeous NOW. You have to love who we are right this moment, in order to get to where you want to be and then stay there.
Take an inventory of your thoughts as you stand there. What negative messages come up? Simply notice them and listen without fueling them with more criticism. It’s amazing how this exercise can take on a life of its own, if you do it regularly over time. Get a journal and do this for the next 30 days.
Step 1: Stand. If facing the mirror bare feels too vulnerable at first, start this process fully clothed and slowly peel away clothes as you feel more powerful in your body. It will happen. Just by facing yourself in the mirror you will begin to see how powerful it is to be in your beautiful body. Begin a mental and physical gratitude list. You are whole and alive. You can effect change right NOW.
Step 2: Listen. Next, celebrate all the great things you have to say to yourself. Write those thoughts down and any other supportive, self-loving statements that enter your mind. Practice saying those thoughts out loud. For instance, “I am healthy, my legs are muscular and strong,” or, “My eyes shine with love and compassionate, knowing I have overcome much in my life.” Try simply saying, “I love you,” to your own reflection (include your name after “I love you”.)
Step 3: Look. When you are able to stand there with your own reflection without hurtful negativity or endless reproach, then take an honest inventory. Are you tired? Do you wish you body were firmer? Are you overweight? Remember, these are not reasons to chastise yourself, but instead, opportunities to inspire healthy change. Does your posture show someone proud, or does it show someone who needs to create pride. Do you see someone who practices self-care – or do you see someone who needs to reevaluate her priorities and make more time for her body and her deep, inherent beauty?
The time is now. It is time to literally shed light on your body. Physical light, as well as lightness of heart and spirit. What we often learn in our mirror exercise is that we are heavy with burdens that go way beyond the obvious. Heavy with memories. Heavy with judgment. If we aren’t careful and aware, we can get so weighed down during this season of giving, that we forget to give to ourselves at all. What we need, right now, is to lighten our load.
If you do not like WHAT you see in the mirror, you CAN change. You can create a new routine from the inside out. A routine that begins with loving thoughts – with patience and self-care. A day-to-day effort that gives your body the right energy (food choices) and the right opportunities to USE its energy (movement). This simple equation CAN become a part of your daily life, right now. It can be YOUR gift to you. In fact, if you start right this moment, what you see in the mirror may actually change by the end of April. Give it 30 days and some change and watch what happens! Yes, your body responds THAT quickly to healthy and self-loving inspiration on every level.
So stand, listen, look and love.
After all, you’re the only YOU you’ve got!