What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Do you see all of your imperfections?
Your cellulite, wrinkles, acne?
Or, if you're like many women, you may avoid looking at yourself altogether.
Are there days when you wake up and think I look pretty good for my age and others where you just feel old?
How would it feel to wake up every day, walk by the mirror and say, “Damn, I look GOOD" — and mean it?
If this sounds ridiculous or incomprehensible, I get it.
I was recently asked this question in a coaching training, and I was surprised by my answer.
Several years ago, I would have answered quite differently.
I used to have a very distorted view of myself.
When I looked in the mirror, I would focus on all of the flaws and criticize every part of my body that I disliked.
The first time I heard about "mirror work" and affirmations, I was attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. To be honest, I thought it was just another "woo-woo" thing, and I completely disregarded it. I didn’t do the work, and never thought I would bring it into my practice.
But then I discovered the legendary Louise Hay and fell in love with her work.
Her approach to self-care deeply resonated with me, and "mirror work" was a part of her practice (watch her explain it below starting at :58).
So once again, this woo-woo "mirror work" was showing up in my life.
At some point, I stumbled across her 21-day challenge, where you say powerful affirmations out loud while you are in front of a mirror every morning for 21 days.
This time, I decided to try it on for myself to see if it really worked.
At first, I felt RIDICULOUS and was VERY critical.
But through my training, I learned 2 important tricks that change the game with conquering any new goal.
The first: I decided to adopt a "beginner's mind"
The second: I focused on my COMMITMENT to following through and doing it for the 21-days (rather than just focusing on the outcome).
As soon as I did these 2 things, everything became A LOT easier.
I started to smile and laugh more.
I relaxed and didn’t take myself so seriously, and I noticed that I was experiencing more joy in my life.
When I did the affirmations in front of the mirror it allowed me to notice if there was any RESISTANCE when I said the affirmations.
I didn’t pretend that the wrinkles and cellulite were gone and that everything was perfect— but I did make an effort to look for POSITIVE things about my body.
Most importantly, I checked in with how I was feeling.
So many of us are rushing through our days so quickly that even when we DO schedule time for "self-care" — we're just checking it off our list as another thing we're DOing, rather than taking the time to BE.
When we take a few minutes to LISTEN to how we feel, then we can NOTICE if there is any RESISTANCE, and through this, we can discover WHAT IS STOPPING US or getting in the way of us achieving our goals.
If we let fear stop us from achieving our desires, we lose out on the opportunity to see how POWERFUL we really are, and how BEAUTIFUL life can really be.
If you are unhappy with what you see in the mirror, I HIGHLY recommend reading aloud some affirmations in front of the mirror.
If you don’t have any affirmations of your own, think about your biggest challenge (or what you would like to change) and REFRAME it in a positive light with some loving words behind it.
There is really no wrong way to do it.
A few examples from Louise Hay:
So, are you convinced yet to give Mirror Work a try?
All you have to do is spend 30 seconds each morning saying a positive affirmation in front of your mirror.
Even if you can only commit to one week— that is a PERFECT start.
6 Tips to Love Your Imperfections through Mirror Work
1. Decide You Are Worth It
Not knowing our worth is usually what holds us back in life.
But the truth is, your health and happiness is SO important. For yourself, for your family, your friends, and your community.
When you are radiating health and happiness, you lift others up around you, and you have more to give.
So say "I AM WORTH IT" to yourself to get started, and keep repeating it until you believe it.
2. "Try It On"
Rather than focusing on the outcome, focus on the practice.
All you have to do is commit to "trying it on."
All you have to do is LOVINGLY OBSERVE how you FEEL about it as you go.
You don't have to make any big decisions, you don't have to experience anything life-changing.
You are simply saying yes to a "test," and all you are committing to is COMPASSIONATE OBSERVATION of the practice.
When you're at the end, THEN you'll have a better understanding of the value it may or may not offer you.
In the meantime, just pretend like you're tasting a wine or trying on a new dress. You don't have to commit to buying either one!
3. Small Steps
Start out SLOWLY and EASE into changes.
By taking smaller steps you will feel less RESISTANCE, and the chatter between your ears will be QUIETER.
As you begin to make changes that are EASIER to implement, you'll gain confidence and reduce the fear that arises when you think about making more changes.
Your health is not a race.
This is your LIFE, and you want to enjoy the process!
So set an ATTAINABLE goal, no matter how small it is, and stick to it.
4. Make it Non-Negotiable
PRACTICE is so important.
By being consistent and making YOURSELF a priority, you will begin to notice HOW you are feeling.
If you start and stop then you will NOT have the results you would like to achieve.
Make this practice a non-negotiable by building it into your schedule.
Write a post-it note and leave it next to your bed, or on your bathroom mirror.
Another option is to not let yourself have your morning cup of coffee or tea UNTIL you do your affirmation.
5. Get Support
We're not meant to do everything by ourselves.
We ALL need support.
By opening up to others, we create a sense of ACCOUNTABILITY, which makes us far more likely to follow through on something.
By having at a few people you consider to be your "support system," you are able to share your experience and have someone to reach out to when you get stuck or just don’t feel like it.
I recommend a friend, partner, coach, or anyone who is not only going to support you, but also to stretch you to your fullest potential and lift you up.
6. Celebrate and Have FUN
In all seriousness, this is an IMPORTANT step and not just another thing to check off your to-do list!
Don’t wait until you reach your goal to celebrate.
If you do, you might find yourself giving up BEFORE you attain your goal.
The point is to routinely fill up your bucket with POSITIVITY so that you have more stamina to draw from throughout your whole day.
Don’t take yourself too seriously!
Be willing to laugh at yourself, take a break, have fun, and CELEBRATE every small step.
This will help reprogram your mind to associate new habits and change with a POSITIVE feeling, rather than negative feelings of inadequacy, or the negative connotation that "healthy changes" often come with.
If you'd like to experience what it's like to have a HEALTH COACH in your corner to help you reach your health goals, I invite you to join me for a FREE group coaching experience!
On Thursday, September 6th at 8:00 pm EST., I'll be hosting 5 Simple Steps to Beat Sugar and Carb Cravings— a transformative webinar and group coaching experience that will help you kick your cravings to the curb FOR GOOD.
Curious to learn more?