mirror work

How To Mend Your Relationship With The Mirror


Mirror, mirror…

 On a holiday, visiting family, or staying with a friend, I will occasionally find myself in a house full of mirrors and some very strange things happen.

Firstly, I notice how people position mirrors strategically in order to make the space feel bigger and it generally works.

Secondly, I notice how kid-smeared, finger-printed, and dirt-spotted they get (but I’m a bit of a clean freak!).

And lastly, but most noticeably (and in truth this is the first on my list), I notice myself in them. I notice my face, legs, arms, butt, side-angle, the bulginess of those areas I forgot about, and every seemingly VERY important imperfection is all of a sudden right there in front of my face, re-surfacing old and nasty thoughts. I am literally faced with my self, my continuous hurdles, and my struggling wisdom.

I grew up in a house of mirrors. A designer friend of my mother’s once told her that mirrors at the end of long hallways and large bathrooms and on closet doors, makes the house feel bigger and more spacious. So up they went. They beckoned discernment and intrigue, they told stories, they told lies, and they spoke to me in tongues of criticism. It began young and has stayed with me all my life.

I know there are so many of you out there who feel the same.

We live in a world of mirrors, reflecting back to us in magazines, on computer and tv screens, in one another’s criticisms, and in all the pressures we put on ourselves to be thin and look beautiful.

But the mirror does not need to be the enemy. There are ways to create buddings of healing when facing our self in the mirror that can have lasting impressions on our overall health.

Making Friends With Your Reflection

  • Cover some of them up: If being surrounded by so many mirrors causes you discomfort, take some down or cover them up with some lovely fabric. Not all of them, just the intrusive ones that are too big or in a high-traffic area. Start small: a negative relationship with the mirror does not go away overnight, so starting small can increase chances of success.

  • Dear Mirror: Try some journal entries that begin with “Dear Mirror”. Being honest about how this relationship has affected you and your life is a crucial part of the healing. Speak to the mirror or tell your mirror story from your personal perspective or from that of a fictional character.

  • Love notes: So terribly cheezy, I know, but posting little notes to yourself can remind you that there is so much more to your beauty than what the mirror tells you. Pick up some pretty post-its and boost your own morale. Some ideas: “I am a really good friend”, “I am raising a beautiful child”, “My creativity makes this world a better place”, “I inspire goodness in those around me”. Make your love notes matter and do not simply take quotes off the internet. Think about them and write them in earnest.

  • Spending time with the mirror: Like any relationship, the good ones need nurturing. It is crucial to create trust. Think of the mirror as an extension of yourself that deserves time to bond with you. Begin with 1 minute (yes, 60 seconds!) and just stand in front of the mirror. During this time you must not criticize yourself or you will break the bond, and you must start again. Try 1 minute every day for a week and increase to 3 the next. Remember that in order to get rid of a bad habit, we must replace it with a good one!

Start Small.  Be Patient. Be Kind.