Happy New Year and forget about old-time resolutions! I’d like to pose something different than loosing weight or getting organized: giving ourselves a gift, the gift of attention. I have a very particular activity to recommend – one that served me very well as I describe in Chapter 5: Coming Our as a Survivor in my book Healing My Life from Incest to Joy:
“It came to me one morning as I sat in front of my mirror doing my hair and makeup. I looked into my own eyes and said, “I’m proud of you.” It made me giggle. A voice inside me sneered [that dastardly inner critic] but the greater part of myself told me – at the risk of becoming unbearably conceited – I needed to keep it up till I totally believed it.
For a couple of years, many mornings, I did what I came to call my “Mirror Work.” I’d look myself in the eye and tell me what good I had done and was about to do, remind me of my courage and smarts. I’d smile at these things, even flirt a little, a raised eyebrow, a pursing of the mouth into a grin, all the facial expressions that go along with messages of affirmation and acceptance. I started noticing who else in my life, besides me, looked at me that way – a way that said, ‘I like who you are.’”
This act of looking into my own eyes was radicalizing in terms of both hearing my voice and seeing my face tell me of my worth. These visual and audio messages became grand contradictions to the self-loathing I’m convinced was part and parcel of the incest and neglect I lived through. And – as I taught myself to recognize the face and tone of loving acceptance - I got better and better at recognizing the same when it came from others; special others, ones I’d be sure to keep up close and personal.
Why not give it a try, right now, just for fun. Go to the closest mirror, put a smile on your face, look yourself in the eye and say something nice to and about the one you’re looking at. Maybe even give them a wink before you turn away!
Thank you for reading,