Through this article, we are trying to share why looking at yourself in the mirror is important and how it helps you to boost self-confidence and happiness.
In the midst of a busy schedule, many times we fail to take care of ourselves. We are struggling so hard with multiple deadlines, family commitments, and managing mundane activities, that we don’t even have a few minutes to look ourselves in the mirror.
But do you know looking yourself into the mirror can build self-confidence – a personality trait that we all want!
We can understand if you don’t care too much about your appearance or you find it uncomfortable, to look at yourself in the mirror for any longer than say few seconds. But, even if you do spend time looking yourself in the mirror, how many times have you thought about appreciating yourself? How many times have you said good things about yourself rather than criticizing your features, weight, or body type?
Does your self-talk sound something like this: “Why I don’t have sharp features? “Why I am so fat?” “Why I am so dark?” “Why my skin is so oily?” “Why my face look so fat?” “Why my eyes are so small?”
Here we are talking about how by avoiding mirrors or misusing them for criticizing yourself, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Here we are talking about how looking at yourself in the mirror, you can boost your self-confidence and self-love.
According to Tara Well, the psychologist and professor behind mirror gazing meditation, this unique approach could help boost self-kindness and self-compassion, particularly on those difficult days when you worry no one else cares.
But before we delve into the details of mirror gazing meditation, here is a disclaimer: If you avoid looking into mirrors to stay away from triggering internal conflict or self-hate, mirror-gazing might prove a challenging exercise. But over time, you may find it promotes a new, more positive outlook towards self and life.
What is Mirror Gazing & How Looking at Yourself in the Mirror can Benefit You?
Mirror Gazing is a kind of meditation exercise. In simple words, you use a mirror to make eye contact with your own reflection in the mirror. Unlike other meditation exercises, where you shut your eyes and turn your attention inward.
In a world where we hear messages like – “Looks aren’t everything” or “It’s what’s inside that counts.”, it becomes difficult to believe in the benefits of mirror-gazing. But as per various experts, Mirror gazing can yield similar results as that of any meditation: increase self-awareness, relieve stress, and get more aligned to your own emotions.
In simple words – As they say, if eyes offer a window into your soul, mirror-gazing provides a direct route to your distress. Hence, making it way easier to explore emotional symptoms and identify underlying causes.
How Looking at Yourself can Lead to a Stronger Sense of Self
Have you ever seen how babies form an attachment with their caregivers, who are consistently present in their lives? Even, in our adulthood or adolescence, we hold the strongest relationships with the people we saw regularly.
In the times, when opinions and criticisms of others damage your self-worth, leave you feeling weak and alone, you can find a trusted friend just by turning to your mirror.
When you look at yourself, your acknowledgment of being there for yourself gives you much more power to cope with unkind words and judgment. Rather than feeling broken, it makes you feel whole. It makes you acknowledge your unique self and hence, helps you overcome the feelings of shame and unworthiness.
Mirror gazing helps you carefully cut back your negative thoughts about yourself or negative self-talk that spring up like weeds can, in turn, allow self-acceptance and self-love to bloom.
How to do Mirror-Gazing
Looking into your own eyes may make you a bit uncomfortable first. But irrespective of it, commit to giving it a try for a week or two. As per various sources, people who commit to mirror gazing suggest that doing it for 10 minutes a day can help ease stress and increase self-compassion.
Step 1: Preparation
1. Find a quiet place and a chair. Also, find a mirror large enough to see your face. Better to find a mirror that stands on its own as holding it for 10 minutes may distract you from focusing.
2. Attempt to angle the mirror in a way that you can easily make eye contact with your reflection.
3. Keep your phone on silent mode so you are not distracted during the next 10 minutes.
4. Set your timer. In the beginning, if you find 10 minutes too long, start with 5 minutes. You don’t have to set a specific meditation goal. There is just one simple aim to sit with your reflection in the mirror.
Step 2: Relaxation Exercise
5. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Try to slow down your breathing by taking several deep breaths. Allow yourself to inhale, hold, and then slowly exhale.
6. Once, your body relaxes, let yourself breathe naturally.
7. Now, turn your attention to the tense spots in your body. Focus on that tension spot and observe these sensations. Acknowledge any emotions these sensations bring up. Accept these emotions without criticism. For example, if you feel frustrated, angry, or sad, don’t judge yourself for these emotions. Just notice them and let them pass.
8. Slowly release your mental awareness on that specific part of your body and redirect it to your next area of focus.
Step 3: Mirror Gazing
9. Once your body is relaxed, open your eyes. Look eye to eye with the person in the mirror.
10. Observe the message in your eyes. Is it critical or kind? Do you immediately focus on something specific you dislike about yourself? Visualize each slow breath and slowly let that disliking pass away.
11. What are you thinking? What are the thoughts coming to mind? Does a little voice begin to name your flaw, one after the other? Do you find it difficult to focus on your reflection because of self-hatred?
12. As each thought comes up, observe it and let it pass. Pay attention to the way your emotions move across your face. What does judgment look like? Anger? Fear? Acceptance?
13. If you find yourself narrowing your focus to a particularly negative thought or feeling, gently return your attention to your reflection. Let your thoughts travel where they will, but hold your gaze, looking at yourself with kindness, as they wander.
Step 4: Closure
14. Focus on one good thing about yourself while looking at your reflection. Feed your reflection with the positive stories of your courage and determination. While you feed your reflection with positivity, you feel the positive rush inside you.
15. Smile at the person in the mirror and loudly say to your reflection, looking eye to eye “Thank You”: And, lastly loudly tell the person in the mirror – “I love you.”.
It is disappointing how we have been using mirrors for judging our appearances when they can do so much more. Looking at yourself in the mirror makes you counter self-judgment and negative self-talks with appreciation, compassion, and love. It boosts your self-confidence and self-love. It gives you strength on the days when people’s harsh words are leaving you lonely and heartbroken. It shows you how your best friend is hidden inside you.
We hope you would realize that there’s more to you than what the mirror tells you at the first glance. Hope you hold your mirror often and see the depth of your beautiful self.