What happens when you look in a mirror? Is the voice of a critic immediately unleashed in your mind? Do you focus on a zit or a wrinkle and ignore the sparkle of your eyes or the beauty of your smile? Too often mirrors automatically subject some of us to judgement. Like the apple in the photo, we ignore what we are in the present moment, and focus on what we are not.
This week’s tip challenges us to look in a mirror without judgment, to practice awareness of our reflection without the usual distortion.
Mindful Monday Tip #5: Mindful in the Mirror
- Step in front of a mirror and remain there as long as you can (from 2-10 minutes).
- Stay aware of your reflection for a bit longer than your typical level of comfort.
- Notice any urges to step away and observe feelings of silliness or discomfort.
- Become aware of how you think and feel about your body.
- Focus on one part of your body and expand your awareness to your complete image.
- Now describe your appearance instead of judging it: note color/texture of hair, texture of skin, shades of lip and eye color, texture of skin, etc.
- Describe your shape using non-judgmental words like curved, oval, or straight.
- Notice if you feel tempted to use words like fat/thin or pretty/ugly as you describe your appearance.
- If your mind draws your attention to what you looked like in the past, or if it focuses on what you wish you’ll look like in the future, close your eyes and repeat the exercise.
What might you discover if you see yourself in the present judgment –free moment? Maybe you’ll look more like a whole apple and less like a chewed up core.
 Susan Albers, Eating Mindfully (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2012), 133-135.