There’s an oval table mirror standing on my desk next to my monitor. It was originally placed so I could see the door at my back for good Feng Shui but it has taken on an additional purpose. I’ve found myself checking my reflection on a regular basis and noticing how a smile on my face not only reflects a pleasant mood but also fosters it.
Months ago, during an especially difficult time, I’d catch my reflection frowning or having an expression displaying inner hurt. I would gaze at my reflection, realizing I hadn’t noticed I was frowning. I’d choose to be gentle with myself, acknowledging the inner pain occurring, and then I’d soften my face. I could literally watch my emotions change as I let go of the hurt I was holding, and melt into gentleness. Gentleness with myself… my situation… my process. Taking a deep breath, I consciously release tension in my back and shoulders and look at my reflection with kind eyes.
Using this desktop mirror as an exercise to monitor my feelings has provided me with a source of great growth. By becoming aware of the expression of hurt on my face I was able to move through the pain of my heartache, heal more quickly, and let it go. Checking my countenance in the mirror helps me remember to smile… to be gentle. When we consciously soften our face and our features, even with the slightest of smiles, our heart and mood cannot help but follow.
The interactions with my mirror are always changing as my moods change through the weeks and months, but it is always enlightening. This reflection of my face has become a monitoring device, like a kind friend who tells you the truth. And the lesson I have learned the most deeply, so far, is that softening my features as I release previously unknown tension actually helps lighten my mood. It’s a validating lesson to that wise adage of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. This mirror-practice has helped me internalize that wisdom even more as I experience how softening my face with a smile actually brightens my mood.
This is a process I warmly encourage you to try out for yourself. Place a desktop mirror next to your computer monitor. Rather than avoiding mirrors as I used to, or only quickly glancing in them to ensure there’s nothing in our teeth, let’s take a moment to look deeply into our lovely eyes and really see our own reflection. And then soften your features. Think of something nice. See what it looks like when a kindness makes you ‘melt’. You can actually see the transformation.
While I am still working on doing actual affirmations in the mirror, or saying things aloud to myself, I feel like this is a step I can honestly manage and maintain. Having this mirror here I can conveniently look at my face, my eyes and myself with kindness. And even without saying words aloud, I can feel the meaning of the sentiment, “I like you.” And what a powerfully healing sentiment that is!
Excerpt from Finding Your Way Home, © 1998 Melody Beattie
“Take a minute. Change your perspective, your mind, and the content of your life. See God, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, or Muhammad touching your shoulder and saying aloud: “You’re valuable and important, and you’re on this planet for a reason.” Then commit to remembering and carrying out the special mission your soul came here to do.
You’re a child of the light. Feeling blessed and protected is beyond words, but words are an important part of the blessing. Tell yourself you’re safe. Move through life with ease. Remember how blessed your soul is. Ask for a blessing whenever you can, and bless everyone you meet.”
~ Melody Lynn Beattie
[My heartfelt gratitude to the creators of these lovely images randomly sourced off the Web]