Often, when we see photos of ourselves we are startled. We look away and we can’t believe we look like that. This is because we don’t recognize our bodies. We don’t look at ourselves to recognize and accept that this is what our bodies look like at this very moment in time. We hold negative thoughts and, often, disgust toward our bodies. What if we can look at ourselves in the mirror?
Here are ways to unlearn that and start seeing and accepting our true selves:
First, Love Yourself
One way that we can stop being startled and start loving ourselves is to start recognizing our bodies. We can do that by actually looking at our bodies in the mirror and describing them in nothing less than neutral terms. Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing the power of Body Recognition and giving you a few exercises to try on your own. It would be wonderful if you could share your experiences as you practice these simple, yet difficult, techniques.
One of the exercises we are going to learn today is the power of body recognition through mirror work. It means looking in the mirror and acknowledging each part of our body by describing them.
Mirror work should ideally be repeated daily. Give yourself uninterrupted time, about 5 minutes or so, to look at yourself in the mirror. Speak loud enough so that you can hear the words, do not just think about it. It’s important that you are in a calm state when doing mirror work. Having good lighting is also helpful.
You may use a notebook or a journal with you to record what you have to say about your body. First, describe each part of your body with a neutral statement. Then, make a positive statement about each body part before moving on to the next part. If at any time, you start to 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.
Start With Face and Head
Start at the tip-top of your head and describe each part. While looking at yourself in the mirror, remember to say neutral things and positive things about each part like your hair, forehead, eyebrows, eyelids and lashes, eyes, cheeks, skin, nose, lips, teeth, chin, ears, and neck. For example, one neutral thing about the hair is “My hair is brown with about 20% grey.” One positive thing could be “My hair is soft and silky and the bangs frame my face well.”
This will do it for this week. Write down the statements and reread them often. You may 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 you could describe and recognize every aspect of yourself, even your physical being? Could you love yourself? Could you take better care of yourself? Could you smile at yourself?