The Mirror Exercise:

This is one of the most simple and effective yet powerful self esteem and self confidence building exercises. It replaces the negative self talk that dominates our thoughts with loving, affirming positive self talk. It is recommended to do this every day for 40 days. Every night before going to bed, stand in front of a mirror and appreciate yourself for all that you have accomplished during the day. Look deeply into your eyes and notice your mirror image looking back at you. Say your name and begin to appreciate yourself for the following things:

1. Any achievements (business, financial, educational, personal and emotional)

2. Any personal disciplines that you have kept
(exercise, meditation, prayers, eating well)

3. Any temptations that you did not give in to (lying, drinking too much, etc.)
Maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the exercise. When you are complete, end by continuing to look into your eyes and say, “I love you” Then stand there for another few seconds to feel the impact of what you have done and experienced. Imagine that you are the only person in the mirror listening to someone else talking to you, loving you. The trick is to keep your self fixed on your eyes as you speak and allow the feelings to flood through your body. You may cry,or laugh or think this is ridiculous and perhaps be embarrassed and feel stupid,but challenge yourself to go the distance and take it all in. It’s intense.

Example: Here is a sample of what it may look like:

“______ I want to appreciate you for the following things today. First I want to appreciate you for going to bed on time last night without staying up too late and surfing the internet or watching too much TV. Great job, you got up bright and early this morning and you had a really good conversation with ________. And then you meditated for 20 minutes and took a shower. You took care of everything that you needed to and you ate a healthy, nourishing breakfast. You got to work on time and led a great staff meeting with your support team. You did a great job of getting everyone comfortable enough to share their concerns. And you were great at drawing out the quiet ones. Let’s see and oh, then you ate a really healthy lunch, soup and a sandwich. Great job for drinking your water today and keeping your commitments. Congratulations on that one! You also stayed in a good mood all day. You didn’t let other people’s problems become yours. You maintained your boundaries and said “No” when you needed to. And you didn’t take anything too
personally today. Good job!… you also finished editing that project that you wanted to finish and did a great job on that too. I like the way that you have been managing your time lately and maintaining time for yourself and keeping your self care as a priority. I like the way that you appreciated others for having done a great job today also. That was really nice and it helped them to feel really good. They just lit up when you said those nice things to them today. It was great that you took time to spend that special time with ________ That was really special particularly when you showed that you really enjoyed their company. And now you’re going to bed again when you need to in order to be bright and bushy tailed tomorrow a.m.. You were really great today… And one more thing, – I love you!”

Don’t be surprised if you have some really weird reactions the first time that you do this exercise.You might feel guilty, or scared, silly, embarrassed or uncomfortable. We’re just not trained to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge ourselves. It’s so common to beat up on ourselves and called ourselves names and then want to reach for food to ease the discomfort.