The Mirror Exercise

In some class I took at some point in the past 20 years, The Mirror Exercise was introduced. The intention was to learn to love yourself. The assignment was to spend time looking at yourself in the mirror and when you were comfortable, say “I love you” to yourself. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. Let me assure you that it wasn’t.

Initially, I could look at myself, exploring my face and hair with my gaze. But, the purpose was to be able to look into my eyes — for a full minute, before advancing to longer periods of time. I don’t remember now how long it took for me to be able to hold my own gaze, but I did get there. The sense of success and joy when I was able to look lovingly into my eyes was palpable. When I said, out loud, “I love you”, my body tingled with joy. I was hooked.

One moment turned into several minutes. When I was feeling down, all I had to do was do The Mirror Exercise and feel my energy rise. I loved being able to give myself that gift.

Fast forward to today. I heard about The Mirror Exercise (TME) being used in a similar but different context. Being able to love yourself is the first step in this other use of TME being valuable and successful. With that in mind, let me urge you to start doing your own Mirror Exercise. Then get ready to take the second step.

You’ll agree that we are all aging, getting older. We each do it differently. Some get wrinkles, others turn grey, some get stooped and others start to shuffle, some experience diminished hearing and others suffer memory loss and confusion, and some experience more than one of those attributes! Those attributes represent the worst image of what aging is. This is the stereotype of aging I’m working at ending.

The other way of aging is where your calendar pages turn and your body changes some, but for the most part, you are the same as you were when you were younger. You stand and walk erect and with pep, your mind is sharp and active, and you are as active as ever. I believe a part of the difference between the two scenarios is mindset. How can you support a mindset that lets you see yourself as youthful and vibrant in your later years? The Mirror Exercise.

In this version of TME, look at yourself with the love you learned to feel in the first version. This time, take in how you look. Love how you look and connect the changes you see in the mirror to how you feel and what you’ve accomplished in life. See the wisdom embedded in your eyes and skin? That reflects the wisdom in your mind, the wisdom that comes from life’s experiences.

Embrace who you are and celebrate your life. The Mirror Exercise will help a lot.

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