In my sacred space|meditation room, I placed a full length mirror that faces me. I wanted to see myself in prayer. I wanted to watch those moments of painful release, those a-ha moments, those breaths of surrender. And I wanted to acknowledge what was happening by being a first-hand witness to the magic. So I could look into my own eyes and be the person to trust and lean upon. I wanted to be the person to show up for myself and to speak up in those difficult, teary moments. Using words of love, affirmation, and gentleness, especially when my natural inclination is to criticize how unattractive I look when I cry. Little did I know that what I was doing was the beginning of deep healing, the beautiful act of Mirror Work.
What is Mirror Work
Mirror work is the art of being able to look at your reflection and instead of meeting it with criticism and cruelty, you are able to speak kindness and compassion. It is the combination of self love and affirmations at a deep healing level. You don’t need much, just you, a mirror, and the ability to start showing up differently to yourself by truth telling. By admitting that the lies you’ve once believed have cause you to stay stuck in your life, you are committed to stop listening to that voice. That voice that has convinced you that if you only fixed x, y, z then you’d be lovable.
Why It Is Important
It changes the words we instinctively speak to ourselves.
Mirror work can give you a new vocabulary for your self and body. Imagine living a life where you no longer heap insults on your self but rather love her with all your being? A life where you show her kindness when you fail, compassion when your heart aches, and a high five when you are just feeling it. Mirror work can begin that shift for you.
I teach others how to love me by how I choose to love myself.-You
It reconditions how we view ourselves.
Do you find that when you look at your reflection, you are constantly finding what is wrong with what you see? Those wrinkles and fine lines. The hair out of place. That extra fat on your thighs. We’re rarely satisfied with what we see, always nit-picking at the most minor of flaws. Mirror work allows you the space to recondition that.
What if what you saw in your reflection was actually more than those things, more than your appearance? What if you saw the beauty in your strength, the beauty in how far you’ve come, and even the beauty in what you perceive are your so-called flaws? (maybe those “flaws” would cease to exist). And you even find yourself delighting in your image the way a child does, celebrating in your uniqueness. By consistent practice in retraining what you say to yourself, you recondition how you ultimately view yourself.
It teaches mindfulness.
The simple act of standing there and acknowledging ourselves is an act of mindfulness. It allows us to be present in the moment and without beating ourselves up for what we did in the past or how we will love ourselves more in the future, we are forced to be in now. To love ourselves now. As is.
I choose to love myself just as I am. Right in this moment.-You
How to Practice It
1. Set aside five minutes a day, every day, just you and a mirror.
Sit or stand in front of it. You can be naked, you can be clothed–your choice. Really look at yourself and speak positive affirmations. Repeat it, allowing the words to really sink it while watching your face. Get to know that woman in the mirror. Some examples of affirmations that I like to repeat:
I deserve to hear, know, and see the real me.
I am enough.
My uniqueness is my blessing.
I don’t need to be perfect to be happy.
How I teach others how to love me is by how I choose to love myself.
I choose to love myself just as I am. Right in this moment.
2. You can use mirror work for the practice of loving on your body.
Take an area of your body that you find yourself constantly criticizing. Find 3 kind things to say to it in gratitude. Thank your body for being good to your even when you have not been kind in return. Ask for forgiveness for the horrible things you have said to her and ask for a new perception in how you can better love her.
3. Practice any time you pass by a mirror.
It doesn’t have to be done with an actual time set aside; any time you walk past a mirror is just fine. Put sticky notes in every mirror of your house if you need to remember to be kind. Sometimes we unconsciously go into the harmful thinking without even realizing it so it’s nice to have a reminder if you need it. When you see your reflection, greet her with a warm hello. And if you catch yourself critiquing your body, stop yourself. Repeat an affirmation (Practice #1) or stand there and tell her 3 positive things (Practice #2).
And just as with everything else, meet yourself with gentleness and compassion.
Cara Ansis is a Self-Love Facilitator and healer, helping women safely enter their own inward journey towards taking better care of themselves. With a master’s degree in Soul Care, she is a certified Spiritual Director and has had the privilege of working with countless women around the country. With her own profound story of self-healing, she now teaches those everyday techniques, rituals, and tools to enable other women connect with their own healing abilities and radically transform their lives. Cara lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, Matt and their son, Jaxon.