Day 8: Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
Welcome to day 8 of this mindfulness Advent calendar. Today I’d like you to try out a small exercise I once came up with during a time of crisis: Stand in front of a mirror and take a mindful look at yourself. Observe what you see and what kind of thoughts that arise. How does that make you feel? Close your eyes for a small bit and then take a second look at the mirror. This time I’d like you to imagine that the person you see is not yourself but someone else, standing in front of you, looking back. Does that change what you see or how you see it? Does it affect your thoughts?
How are you feeling now? Most people report that they experience rather negative feelings during the first part of the exercise and rather positive ones during the second part. One woman once described it like this: “When I look at myself as a stranger, all the pressure of having to be perfect falls off and I just see someone who is suffering under the demeaning comments. I just want to give her a hug.” We usually set the bar high for ourselves and there’s always something we’d like to improve or change. The thoughts we have about who we are or how we look are sceptical, judgemental, or even mean and insulting. These beliefs are the lenses through which we perceive reality, which is why it can happen that we see someone mediocre, fat, or ugly when we look in the mirror. The problem of low self-esteem is not that we believe what we see, it’s that we see what we think – and we don’t ever question our thoughts. Most of them are blunt lies though. Those ideas about how perfect we have to be vanish when we imagine to be looking at a stranger and we can use the qualities of our hearts to see: Love, curiosity, openness.
I wish you a lovely 8th of December and will be back with more mindfulness tomorrow.
Advent season is supposed to prepare us for Christmas and bring calm, light, and joy to the dark winter days. However, December is one of the busiest months for most people and it seems almost impossible to find some rest. That’s why Heartbridges Writings has created this mindfulness Advent calendar. You will find a daily post with a picture and a suggestion for a small exercise, that should grant you a moment of calm even on the most stressful day. For more information check out my first post on the calendar.