When You Look in the Mirror,
Who Do You See?
Our post, Bee Yourself, created so much buzz on Facebook and Twitter, we thought we’d take our discussion on authenticity one step further. So, when the Born This Way Foundation posted the featured image we borrowed from them, we felt inspired to share the Mirror Exercise with you. The Mirror Exercise is one way you can build your own self-esteem. Good self-esteem is foundational for expressing yourself more authentically, and building self-esteem often is a matter of identifying and releasing someone else’s opinion of who you are and replacing that viewpoint with one of self-love and self-appreciation. There is no easy fix for low self-esteem and lack of authenticity. But, a few minutes spent in front of a mirror every day will uncover the you you always longed to be.
Tools for Mirror Exercise
- Largest Mirror You Have, Full Length, if Possible
- Journal or Notebook
- Personal Audio Recorder
Instructions for Mirror Exercise
When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of playing roles in life to please others, this simple mirror exercise can create many insights about you. You just have let go of your fears and pick your courage up and look in the mirror.
- For those who are brave, even though they may not be comfortable with their body or body image, taking your clothes off and standing nude in front of a full length mirror is very powerful. I highly recommend doing the Mirror Exercise nude. If you aren’t one of those people who can go that far yet, stand in front of the largest mirror you have and look at yourself.
- Let any opinions, judgments, criticisms, or praises bubble up as you look yourself over from head to toe. Jot down any thoughts when they come up, and ask yourself this question, “Where was the first place I heard this?” Write the source of these thoughts down, too. If you don’t like to write, you may wish to keep an audio journal.
The first time I did the Mirror Exercise, I weighed over 300 lbs. So, I wrote down things like, “You are fat.” “Your clothes are ugly.” (No, I wasn’t brave enough to go nude at that point. :)) I kept writing until I had judged everything I disliked about the way I looked. Then, when I asked the question, “Where was the first place I heard this?” I realized that I had heard my Mom say these things about me, for as long as I could remember. I was stunned that my own judgments about my body were word-for-word copies from my Mom’s criticisms of my body when I was a child. QueenBee
- When you have completed your survey of yourself in the mirror and have made notes about your opinions, look yourself straight in the eye and say, “I love and accept you exactly as you are.” Repeat this phrase 20 more times.
- You might notice that other judgments bubble up. Please keep a note of them. You might feel emotional. Or, you might not. Have faith that connecting with the real you by looking into your eyes in the mirror will reawaken your relationship with yourself.
- Do the Mirror Exercise daily for at least 21 days. You certainly can include this exercise as one of your daily practices. You may also wish to review your journal weekly and see how much of your own views start to surface over time.
It may take a little disciplined focus to uncover the you that hides behind the disguises you use to please other people, but you will fall in love with yourself all over again and be glad you looked.