Last week we met Katrina and learned how she used mirror meditation to disrupt her selfie addiction. Pat had a different kind of self-image problem. As a therapist, she felt comfortable in the role of nurturer and support person. Pat was quite modest and even self-effacing at times. Taking selfies and looking in the mirror weren’t her thing. Yet she was intrigued by the idea of mirror meditation and thought it might be helpful to her clients. So I agreed to show her the technique. After she canceled a couple of appointments, I met her for coffee to find out what was going on. She confessed, “I’m really afraid to look at myself.” As a woman in her 50s, certain age, Pat often felt invisible and came to accept it. Meditation in front of a mirror was very much outside her comfort zone and my usual pitches to try it weren’t persuading her. She was content and believed it just wasn’t for her. But something wasn’t quite right about her objections. I noticed that Pat was a master at deflecting compliments. I suggested she look in the mirror and simply feel her own appreciation for herself.

I reasoned with Pat that we all have a basic need to admire others, and if the only people who allow themselves to be admired are those with self-interested agendas, it creates an imbalance. So Pat was actually helping her clients by receiving their attention and admiration. She came to see her self-effacing attitude as getting in the way of her good work. The mirror meditation helped her practice being more comfortable being seen and admired by others. Through years of doing face-to-face psychotherapy, she modeled being an attentive listener – and now she no longer shied away from letting yourself be seen and admired for her skill. Pat came to appreciate the power in the give and take of seeing others and being seen and it elevated her therapy practice to a new level.

What is your comfort level with being seen by others?