There’s nothing wrong with checking yourself out with a quick glance whenever you pass by a mirror. Appreciating yourself and taking care of your appearance is an important part of self-confidence and that’s healthy. But, if you’re one those people who doesn’t enjoy looking at yourself, you may be missing seeing the deeper and more admirable parts of yourself. A technique known as mirror gazing is a form of meditation that boosts self-worth and compassion.
Mirror gazing is a meditation practice but instead of closing your eyes and focusing on your breath, you keep your eyes open and focused on your reflection in the mirror. As you look at your reflection and quiet your thoughts, you begin focusing less on your flaws and more on your life experiences. There are three major benefits of practicing mirror gazing.
1. Greater self-compassion. Mirror gazing helps you embrace a more forgiving and real perspective of who you are. No one is flawless. Seeing your reflection helps you realize one’s flaws don’t make them unworthy of love.
2. Stronger self-confidence. You gain greater insight when you stare at yourself in the mirror. Validating all your traits and accepting yourself for who you are makes you less vulnerable to the opinions of others.
3. Emotional awareness and authenticity. Seeing a reflection of our emotions helps us avoid pushing them aside or trying to bury them.
If mirror gazing is a form of meditation that you’d like to try, here are 5 steps to getting started. It is best to practice ten minutes each day to help ease stress and increase self-compassion.
1. Find a quiet room and sit in front of a mirror where you can see yourself easily. Set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes.
2. Look in the mirror and begin breathing slowly as you watch your reflection.
3. Focus on your eyes. Are your thoughts critical or kind? Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, keep breathing slowly and imagine the breaths dissolving the critical thoughts you have.
4. Listen to your internal dialogue. Are your self-thoughts about your flaws or someone else’s? If so, allow yourself to observe the thought objectively without judging it and then let it go. Watch your face as your inner voice begins releasing thoughts of fear and anger.
5. If overwhelming feelings are triggered, keep looking at your reflection. Sometimes past hurts, abuse, and trauma will come up. Allow them to stay but keep your gaze on the mirror and breathe slowly. The thoughts, although scary at times, will dissipate leaving you less stressed and calmer.
For most people, looking in a mirror is a way to monitor how we present to the world, but it can also be used to help us on our journey of becoming more self-aware and confident. Accepting ourselves for who we are, flaws and all, helps us be kinder and compassionate to ourselves and others.