Let’s talk about learning to recognize our own faces with love, compassion, and respect. Facial recognition is a fairly recent technological advancement. Without a reflection or photo, we could tell what our faces felt like, but we would have a hard time knowing what our faces looked like. So we look into the mirror and learn what our eyes, mouth, nose, and expressions look like. We build a relationship with what we see in the mirror.
Body recognition is a little bit different than face recognition. We can see and feel what our bodies look like without an image or reflection. However, mirror work exercises are still beneficial to help us recognize, accept, and be kind and compassionate toward our bodies and practice self-care.
You might want to go slowly on this work.
Here are some reminders before starting your mirror exercise for the body. Keep these in mind as you make progress in mirror work.
- Repeat this daily.
- It’s important to give yourself uninterrupted time (at least 5 minutes,) and speak aloud.
- It’s important that you’re in a calm state.
- Have good lighting.
- Remove your shirt.
- Look in the mirror.
- Have a notebook or a journal handy to record what you have to say.
- Describe each part of your body with a neutral statement.
- Make a positive statement about each body part before moving on to the next part.
- Touch each body part.
- Describe what it feels like using neutral or positive terms.
- If at any time, you feel anxious or any other emotion that is considered negative, or if you can’t think of a positive or neutral statement, stop. Call it a day. You will have a chance again tomorrow.
Starting on the torso
Now let’s proceed!
We’ll be working on your torso for now. Starting with your neck, describe each of the following parts of your body with neutral and positive statements only. Include what they feel like in the description. (For example, My neck is strong. It has a mole about two inches under my left ear. The skin around my neck is soft and supple.)
Start describing your neck, shoulders, clavicle area, breasts, armpits, ribcage, belly/waist, lower belly, shoulder blades, back, and hips. That should do it for this time. Write down the statements and reread them often to yourself. You can repeat them each time or try to come up with other statements, but the number one requirement is that if negativity comes up, stop. Try it again tomorrow.
What if? What if you could describe and recognize every aspect of yourself, even your physical being? Could you build a relationship with yourself? Could you take better care of yourself? Could you smile at yourself?
Through mirror exercise, I hope we all get to practice self-care and have more compassion for ourselves and our bodies. We’re all worthy of love and appreciation!