Mirror Work is a method that was originally developed by Louise Hay as a way of getting in touch with the inner self. The primary purpose of the work is to develop self-love, self-care, and more meaningful relationship with others. By simply looking into the mirror for a certain amount of time each day and gently talking to yourself, you can foster a more compassionate and forgiving connection with yourself.
Before beginning daily mirror work, I invite you to spend 5 minutes either sitting or standing in front of the mirror. Simply stare at yourself and maintain eye contact. Notice what happens without judgement. For most people, this is uncomfortable. You may notice you feel awkward, embarrassed, or emotional. Self-criticism may arise. I encourage you to sit with whatever arises and allow it.
Louise Hay wrote in her book, mirror work:
“The mirror reflects back to you the feelings you have about yourself. It makes you immediately aware of where you are resisting and where you are open and flowing. It clearly shows you what thoughts you will need to change if you want to have a joyous, fulfilling life.”
In front of the mirror, there is no hiding. It allows us the space to see the relationship we have with our-self, and if there is work to do around this relationship, the mirror can make us feel uneasy. But, if we are willing to sit with the uneasiness, our relationship with self can transform.
HOW TO PRACTICE MIRROR WORK – STEP BY STEP
There are no official ways to practice mirror work, however, this is a guideline to give ideas for getting started.
Personally, I believe mirror work needs to be tailored to one’s own needs, but there are fundamental principles to keep in mind as you create your own practice:
- Use affirmations that feel authentic to you (more on this below)
- Commit to at least 5 minutes a day
- Always do mirror work in private
- Remember it’s normal and perfectly OK to feel emotional – let yourself feel whatever comes up without judgement
- Keep a journal of your experiences
Here is a simple step-by-step guide to mirror work you can use and adapt:
The deepest changes are experienced when mirror work is done consistently over a long period of time. As mentioned above, at least 5 minutes a day, with 10 being ideal
2: Time of day
When starting out, I recommend doing mirror work when you feel your best. For most people this is the morning, but not all. As you gain confidence and become more comfortable with the work, you can do it at any time, even during the day when you pass mirrors, or at work. But always ensure it’s done in private.
3: Choose/create your own affirmation
Why? Because affirmations counteract the negative self-talk that runs through our heads, and they help us form new thinking patterns. When we use affirmations, we are affirming what we like about ourselves, or choosing to reprogram a new positive belief.
I find it useful to create affirmations spontaneously based on how I feel when I look in the mirror. For example, if you feel you look tired and not great, you could use something like “I have a beautiful heart and soul, I accept myself as I am.” If you feel uncomfortable, you could say ‘it’s OK to feel uncomfortable, I love and accept you as you are.” Using your name, or an affectionate word such as sweetheart is powerful too.
Alternatively, I have included below a list of affirmations which can be experimented with or adapted. Try using a different one each day, or one for a week. Trust what feels right for you.
- I’m learning to love you
- I’m am whole and complete as I am
- I love how thoughtful/caring/____ you are
- I am worthy of unconditional love
- I am enough
- I am exactly who I need to be in this moment
- It’s okay for me to feel scared
- It’s okay for me to feel sad
- It’s okay for me to feel awkward
- I love how unique my body is
- I am beautiful
- I am whole
- I lovingly embrace my fears
- I trust in my innate wisdom
- I am open and receptive
- I believe in myself
A note about affirmations:
When creating your own, ensure you keep them positive. For example, instead of saying ‘I will not judge myself,’ say ‘I accept myself as I am in this moment.’
The point of affirmations isn’t to pretend you feel something you don’t and change your feelings. If you don’t feel self-love when you look into the mirror on a certain day, don’t say it! Rather say something like ‘I am willing to learn to love myself,’ or ‘I want to love and accept you more.’
4: Repeat your affirmation with feeling!
Whether out loud or in your head (out loud is best if possible), repeat your affirmation to yourself at least 10 times. The more you repeat it, the deeper the impact. Look into your eyes as you say it and use your name.
Don’t rush this part – allow yourself to tune into your feelings as you do this and sit with them.
5: Embrace any emotions that come up
Always remember it’s OK and normal to feel a myriad of emotions in mirror work. If you want to cry, let yourself cry. You are releasing old ways of being and that is powerful! I encourage you to hug yourself, be there for all your feelings. As we do this work, old frozen pain comes up to the surface. Often, it’s coming from as far back as childhood. If this happens for you, comfort your inner child, and talk to him/her. For example, ‘it’s OK, I see you, and I’m here for you.’
A note about men doing mirror work:
Feeling and expressing emotions will likely be more difficult for men than for women because many men are conditioned to perceive being stoic as a true measure of manliness – but the truth is that “stoic” is just another word for emotionally distanced and repressed. There is nothing courageous about avoiding emotions. If you are a man, you will need extra reassurance and compassion through this stage of the work. Have some deep affirmations on hand and the willingness to see your emotional openness as true strength.
6: Journal and record your discoveries
This is a very important step, as it allows you to track your progress. Also, as you journal about the feelings, emotions and thoughts that arise as you do mirror work, you will gain deeper insight into yourself. They don’t have to be long entries, and it doesn’t have to be daily. But do record the most notable experiences and remember a notable experience for you could be noticing how difficult you find mirror work.
Mirror work is deceptively simple but tremendously empowering. It can be a catalyst for deep healing.
One of the most amazing side benefits of mirror work is how it impacts your relationships. By learning how to love yourself more life becomes more harmonious and your connections with others can improve significantly.
If you would like one on one guidance in healing and empowering self through mirror work, l offer coaching in this. You can book an initial no obligation call to discuss this here: https://belindabennetts.co.uk/personal-development-courses/
Belinda is the founder of Belinda Bennetts: Mind Body Soul. She is an intuitive holistic life coach, therapeutic writing facilitator, poet and author of ‘Fear to Love – An Inner Journey Home.’
You can find out more about Belinda and her work here: https://belindabennetts.co.uk/
and follow her here: https://www.facebook.com/belindabennettsmindbodysoul