This morning I weighed in at 140 lbs. That’s the weight I was at when I started my first 40-day cleanse back in 2010. I remember how disgusted I was with myself that I had gained so much weight and gotten so off track with my physical goals. The number one hundred and forty seemed astronomical at the time.
Today, nine years later, it feels much different. I’m relieved to be out of the high 150s and on my way down into the 130s, but it’s much less dire this time around. Over the last decade I’ve absorbed quite a lot about the magnanimous impact of kindness, not just in the way we present to other people, but very much so in how we show up for ourselves.
These days I do a higher proportion of mirror work than I do self-berating. Mirror work, if you’ve never heard of it, is the deceptively simple (there’s that term again!) act of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying wonderful things (that you genuinely mean). Just like how all you need to do to complete a master cleanse is abstain from food and drink more lemonade, all you need to do for mirror work is look at yourself and say I love you.
So why is that so hard? You might be surprised. Most first attempts score high on the fake-itude test. Your logical brain rushes in to quickly convince you this is a silly, irrational, and utterly useless exercise. What you don’t realize at the time is that it’s convincing you to not try something new. It’s giving you every excuse you need to abstain from being kind to yourself. It’s your heart that wants the change. Your brain is desperate to keep you in the same negative fear patterns you’ve been accustomed to most of your life. With repetition and commitment, mirror work allows you to override that fear and replace it with love.
It’s also difficult because the very sad truth about the nature of humanity is that most of us hold grudges against ourselves as if we’re competing for a gold medal. We do for others more than we do for ourselves and that includes forgiveness and kindness.
Mirror work is a tool in my arsenal and a hand weight in the gym of life. It is one of the reps I do to build the muscles of gratitude and self-love. At first it feels like it weighs 25 lbs and all you want to do is put it down and forget about it. Self-care/love/kindness don’t come naturally unless we learn them as kids. We need to practice every day. Over time I promise, your muscles grow and the same exact weight feels much, much lighter.
In 1984 Louise Hay, the grandmother of mirror work, all but launched the self-help book industry with her book You Can Heal Your Life. She then went on to found Hay House Publishing which focuses on affirmations, intuition, healing, spirituality, emotions, inspiration, and more. Many of my favorite authors are published by Hay House and I truly hope to become one of them soon. Here are a few links if you’re interested:
Go ahead and try this and see what happens! For one day, every time you see your reflection in a mirror or a window say this out loud:
“HOT DAMN YOU LOOK GOOD TODAY AND I FREAKING LOVE YOU!”
And then just for shits and giggles, blow yourself a kiss and shake your ass. YEOW! 🙂