The Experience That Led me to This Practice
Once I decided to dedicate myself fully to my spiritual path and personal growth, many things began to happen to me, inside of me, that seemed exaggerated. Imagine your life suddenly feels like a movie playing at the IMAX. Every pimple has a magnifying glass, a huge spotlight, and a mirror all focused on it. But it is just a pimple…..right?
The Big Decision
Two months after that fateful February day in which my life collided with my spiritual path, I decided to stop wearing make-up. This was an extreme decision in direct response to my desire for change, my desire to work on losing my attachments, and for spiritual growth. Where I lived at the time, not wearing make-up put you in a category of ‘odd’, to say the least.
One day, I asked myself why I wore make-up. After some very deep soul-searching, I could not come up with a valid reason. My answers were somewhat defensive. “I have worn make-up since I was eleven.” Or, “Everyone wears make-up.” It was clear to me that those responses did not answer the very clear question, “Why do I wear make-up?” The answer was, “Just because!” Clearly, that was not good enough for me at the moment. I was learning about consciousness and I wanted to choose to be very clear about what I was doing and why.
The very next day, I went to work with no make-up. This was very hard to do. I knew that while most people would be afraid to say something, all eyes would be on me and wondering what was happening. Early into the day, my boss walked up to me, stopped, stared, and then commanded, “Go put some lipstick on!” I could not believe my boss would even dare to have an opinion about my make-up. After that, my resolve was complete. I was not going to wear make-up.
The Side-Effect of This Decision
While I was very proud of my strong spiritual efforts and statement, it came with a very powerful side effect. Within a week or two of not wearing make-up, I could only perceive myself as ugly. Logically, I kept telling myself that I was beautiful. But, the reaction inside of me took over and my mind kept showing me and repeating that I was so ugly! In fact, it was so bad that I shuddered when I looked in the mirror! I actually felt a physical repulsion when I saw my reflection. Consequently, I stopped looking in mirrors.
About a year after that, I moved into a house that had a very large bathroom. The shower doors were glass and the shower was situated precisely across from a wall-to-wall mirror. This was almost unbearable. Although, being dirty would have been worse (then I would be dirty AND ugly), taking a shower became a low point of my day. Thoughts of myself, beauty, and ugliness were constantly spinning in my head. I felt doomed to live a life of extreme unhappiness within my experience of my lack of beauty.
The Day I Began the Practice
One day, I decided that after my shower (before I got dressed) I would stare at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful. On the first day, everything inside of me screamed. “No, I’m not! You are fooling yourself! This is stupid! It won’t change anything! You are ugly!” I cried. I tried again the next day. I fought back! I said, “I don’t care what you say. I AM beautiful!” Days went by. Weeks went by. I kept doing it. Every day a fight. But I persisted.
Months later, I was still telling myself how beautiful I was in the mirror. By this time, I had added going through all of my body parts and facial features one by one and saying that each one was beautiful. The screaming negative voices had become quieter. At that point, I was doing it as a routine in my day. I was quite taken aback on the day that I looked in the mirror and actually saw, really saw and felt, a beautiful woman staring back at me! It was miraculous! Unexplainable! But real! I WAS beautiful. How had I missed it? How had I so definitively seen myself as ugly?
I AM BEAUTIFUL!
Self-Love Mirror Practice
Every day, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are. If possible, this practice should be done in front of a full-length mirror.
Then go through every body part from your head to your toes and repeat how beautiful that body part is. You can go through the general body parts and you can get as detailed as you like.
“You are beautiful. Your hair is beautiful. Your eyes are beautiful. Your ears are beautiful. Your Nose is beautiful…” and continue down to your toes. Or you could say, “Hair, you are beautiful. Nose, you are beautiful,” etc. As you continue the practice, you can add, “I love you. Hair, you are beautiful, I love you,” etc.
Spend some time and intention with each body part. Once you reach your toes, you can repeat once more how beautiful you are overall.