At it's most basic, mirror work is just repeating affirmations (simple, positive statements expressing our truths) out loud while looking at yourself in the mirror. Sounds simple enough. Yet this is one of the hardest practices for me, and for many other people I know.
Though we all look in the mirror everyday, we don't usually do it mindfully. We mess with our hair, check out our teeth, see if we got any crumbs in our eye. Mirror work is nothing like that. It's deliberate, intentional and honestly, kinda scary.
Why? Because it requires things of us we don't acknowledge when we look in the mirror.
Presence - In mirror work, we have to be totally present. We aren't taking a passing glance at ourselves, but we are looking deliberately into our own eyes and holding our gaze.
Intention - A look into the mirror is usually about our physical appearance. But when we do mirror work, it's not about what our face or body looks like. It's about intentionally seeing our whole selves -- our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical selves.
Vulnerability - Mirror work can feel like exposure. We are naked (not necessarily literally, but that works, too!) and completely visible to ourselves. This can make us feel vulnerable.
Latitude - When we voice affirmations out loud to ourselves, we can feel self-conscious and even silly or stupid. We need to allow ourselves the latitude and space to be okay with these feelings, while continuing our practice. This is def where it gets squishy for me.
So you might wonder why mirror work is something to consider.
As a consistent practice (daily, weekly), mirror work helps us accept and love ourselves more. Consciously and subconsciously, we are very self-critical. The voice in our head is constantly telling us what's wrong with us. Mirror work is a powerful way to combat that voice, especially when we are speaking out loud to ourselves.
The neat thing about mirror work is that it works at both the conscious and subconscious level. Hearing our own voice affirming positive thoughts about ourselves allows us to absorb it in the moment, but it also plants the seed for continued work in our subconscious.
You may also be surprised to find powerful emotions come up for you. There may be tears, or anger, or sadness, or joy (I've had all of 'em). That's because mirror work brings up how we truly and deeply feel about ourselves. We may be surprised to learn that we really don't treat ourselves or believe in ourselves all that well. Or that we are holding something back, not being truthful with ourselves, or resisting something we need to accept.
Ultimately, if we continue this practice, we'll find it gets easier. We start being more aware of how we talk to ourselves, and begin to change the voice and thoughts in our head to more kind and generous ones. When that happens, mirror work becomes much more uplifting.
Facing the mirror (mindfully) may be something you look forward to!
Mirror work was pioneered by Louise Hay, a known motivational speaker and founder of the Hay House publishing company. Want to dig deeper? Here's some resources:
Mirror Work Reading What is mirror work? - Louise Hay Compassion at the mirror - Psychology Today The 3-step guide for mastering mirror work to level up your self-love practice - Well + Good Mirror Work - 21 Days to Heal Your Life (book) - Louise Hay Mirror Work Videos Why mirror work will change your life - Lisa Nichols You can heal your heart: Healing with mirror work - Hay House Mirror work technique example step by step - My World of Metaphysics My favorite self love tool - Yin & Yang Living