Last week, we met Clare whose relationship with the mirror involves intense scrutiny of her appearance. Once she shifted her attention to see how she was creating her own suffering, she was able to stop her habit of self-criticism. Katrina, on the other hand, didn’t think she had any issues with her appearance. She posted outrageous selfies all day long – with and without makeup, smiling, crying, grimacing, licking the camera lens – you name it.
I asked her to try an experiment: whenever she felt the urge to post a selfie, she should instead turn her camera on herself and just look with a neutral expression – being still, in silence for 2 or 3 minutes. It felt like an eternity to her! And, it turned out to be harder than she initially thought. By giving herself her own attention instead of trying to get attention from others, she uncovered a well of difficult emotions that she’d been trying to avoid by posting her outrageous selfies. She realized that the urge to post selfies was an attempt to get her feelings validated in a way that simply wasn’t working.
She found a good therapist she trusted and worked out her feelings in private. She stopped taking selfies and did mirror meditation on a regular basis instead. She used our mirror gazing exercises for support between therapy visits. It helped her to focus on how she was feeling inside and to treat herself with kindness and respect. As her relationship with herself improved, she started to realize how much she had been negatively affected by her social feed and decided to cultivate some real relationships and meet regularly with her friends for face-to-face conversation. Mirror meditation helped her feel more comfortable being seen by her friends and she saw them in a new way too – not as potential “like” givers, but as real people who cared. Over time, her relationships became deeper, more intimate and mutually respectful, and less about making cool social posts.
Notice the urge to post, give yourself your own attention, and make time for face-to-face contact with those you love.
Next week: How the mirror helped Pat become more comfortable being seen by others