I love self help stuff. I think understanding ourselves and how we work is one of the most valuable things we can learn, which is probably why I got my psych minor..not because it was the “easiest” stream of computer science *sigh* haha
I follow Louise Hay on Facebook. I love her. She’s brilliant. The founder of HayHouse publishing, she talks about the importance of positive self talk and self love and positive affirmations a lot in all her books. She asked about people’s experiences with mirror work recently and I thought I’d post my thoughts on the value of mirror work here.
Mirror work is essentially facing yourself in the mirror and trying to be kinder and more loving to yourself. I think people get a strange stereotypical image of this practice when they imagine it. Like that viral video of that little blonde girl doing morning mantras “I love my hair! I love my mom! I love my house! I love my clothes! I can do anything!” haha, but it’s not exactly what mirror work is like. A lot of people, I think, start out with mirror work and try the stereotype, feel like they’re just lying to themselves, and give up. My practice of noticing my self talk/self image goes way back to high school for me, before I ever read any positive psych literature, it was critical to my survival, incredibly transformative, and anyone can benefit from it, no one is above this 😛 Not the most gorgeous successful man or woman on earth. Awareness is always a vital practice.
I think that women in male dominated fields can particularly benefit from mirror work. We may feel pressured to represent ourselves a certain way. We may have a lack of role models or even discouraging images of women in our field. We might be processing feedback from trolls. Even when people try to encourage us it can give us the impression that they see us as wanting. When we’re congratulated for just being a part of the field or completing our degree, or we’re just not challenged as much as our peers, it can effect our self image, but at the end of the day we are the only ones who live in our heads, and this practice of self perception awareness is really valuable for us in removing the more abstract barriers that are tricky to navigate.
Certainly men can also benefit from this. I would almost say more but why compare like that. We both have pressures put upon us and we all need to be in touch with our inner guidance system.
So what else is mirror work if it’s not just asserting mantras at your face? 😛
Mirror work forces you to think about how you see yourself. To look yourself in the eyes, and in that moment you can’t lie to yourself. You may not have been very self aware in the past, or maybe you were but then lost that awareness. You might think your relationship with yourself is great because you have all these great outside things, but in front of the mirror you come face to face with the only person who can really judge you on this earth. Who can determine the way you feel each day when you wake up, and how much love in your heart you have to share with others. In that moment no matter how good or bad your surroundings are you can’t hide from yourself, you’re faced with all the things you say to yourself on a daily basis. You may be unable to look yourself in the eye for a bit, or you may be overwhelmed by self love and compassion, you may apologize, you might cry, you might just say hi and have a little reflective time but whatever happens you will be making progress. So keep doing it.
“The journey that we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. Nothing you understand is fearful. It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening, and shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet it is only the hidden that can terrify, not for what it is, but for it’s hiddenness.”-A Course In Miracles
I really can’t describe it in any more detail. Everyone is different, every conversation with yourself is different. This is why it’s called work. The awareness is the important thing, that and forgiveness, and loving kindness, but the awareness is really important. Often you’ll find, if you reflect on it long enough, that it isn’t the cheesy mantra that’s the lie, but rather the self thought you had before, or were fed by something or someone else.
When we “do the work” we come from a different place in our lives. A place of integrity. There’s a power to that. In everything we do. Nothing needs to be forced, you always know where you stand, and so does everyone else. Nothing can touch you when you know your real worth, and when you know what you need to work on and can take constructive criticism about it. The only person who truly has the power to determine how others treat you and how you treat yourself is you. And in the end, life gives you what you give yourself.
Happy self loving 🙂