Years ago, during a yoga training that brought up a lot for me around how I felt about myself, the teacher suggested I do a ceremony. Basically, to place a mirror on my alter at home, and to spend part of my daily meditation looking at my reflection as a way to get to know and honor myself.
I balked. Part of me freaked out at the thought. I mean, who knew what I might see? Did I even want to know? I thought I kept my reaction inside, but he must have felt my response because he smiled, and said, “That’s a hard one for you, huh?”
As you might imagine, the suggestion fell on deaf ears. I literally “forgot” about it. Completely.
Cut to a current training I’m in where the homework was to spend 5 minutes gazing at yourself in the mirror. I put it off for as long as I could. It just felt too close. Too intimate. Too filled with the possibility of seeing something I didn’t want to know.
But surprise, surprise, after spending just a few seconds evaluating myself, I looked into my eyes. Beyond the skin, beyond any “imperfections,” I really, really, looked. And there I was! I could see a tiny reflection of me in my own eyes. How cool.
It made me wonder: How often is that thing we don’t want to know about ourselves not dark or ugly, but actually cool?
What I’m referring to here is not the mega-absorption of selfie world where out of desperation and a false sense of ourselves, we seek, demand even, accolades for our appearance and other curated and contrived activities. Ever on the hunt for “likes’ to validate our existence.
This is not an honoring, it’s a diminishment. Selfie world is for the amateurs among us. For the desperate. For those too afraid to take a real look. For those who have forgotten their value and seek to get it back in the most destructive and unsatisfying of ways.
As harsh as this sounds (and feels to be writing it), it’s true. And somewhere, down deep inside, we all know it. If this makes any sense to you, throw away your selfie stick, and find some time in front of a mirror, with just you.
Let all the noise, the judgment, the evaluations and the criticisms fade into the background. Don’t worry if they don’t completely leave, that takes practice. Instead, watch what happens when you give yourself the time to really see yourself.