A number of years ago, 16 years to be precise, I was taught a mirror exercise that greatly impacted my life. I was struggling with self-image, low self-esteem, and had a very hard time looking at myself in the mirror. Then, a wise young man encouraged me to do this:

Make eye contact with myself in the mirror, and say the following:

I love you.

I respect you.

And together, we can grow.

Eww. That did NOT sound like something for me. But I gave it a shot because I needed something.

Now, the first few times I did that exercise I couldn’t look at myself. I traced the grout lines with my stare, tears streaming down my face, unable to raise my eyes. Little by little though, I gained courage and would be able to tilt my chin enough to catch my stare for a brief moment, before looking away in self-doubt. I practiced. I kept at it. I repeated the phrase in my head.

It took a long time to see myself through my own eyes. It took even longer to get through saying the mantra. It took even longer to say it out loud and to believe it. I cannot remember the exact moment when it all came together, yet I know it did. It was that moment that I changed the voice inside of myself.

Still, I’m far from perfect. That same meek person who has a hard time looking at herself in the mirror is still in me. However, the voice that is compassionate, loving, and supportive is louder and more courageous than before. That’s growth.

That exercise was the first I was given, and latched on to, to help tame my inner critic and practice self-compassion.

Tell yourself how awesome you are. That you did your best. That tomorrow’s a new day. That you’re a badass. That you look damn good today.

Because you know what? Waiting for others to do it for you might not happen – why not take care of it yourself?

Let’s chat soon,
Jessica Elix, ACC

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