When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Like what do you really see? Have you given it much thought, who that person is staring back at you? Do you know him/her intimately, or just on the surface? Do you know what makes you tick, makes you smile, breaks your heart, and where your decisions come from? Most of us do not take the time to really sit down and take a look at ourselves, who this soul is behind the eyes, the flesh, and bone. WHO AM I? have you ever really asked yourself this question? And if not, why not? What prevents you from sneaking a peak behind the curtain to get a look at the mechanics of YOU? Who is the one pulling the strings, who says 'action', who is in control of lighting and makeup so to speak? At roll call, who participates and who hangs back?
Getting To Know Ourselves
You may think 'I know myself' and if that's really true then great! Most people don't so congratulations! But let's go beyond that, beyond just simply 'knowing yourself'. Why do you do the things you do? Why are you the way you are? have you ever questioned it? Attaching to identities gives us comfort and makes us feel like we have a stationary place in this world. We become who we are without questioning it because the questioning may cause some cracks in our foundation, in the solidness of self, and in our identity. Most of us are so glued to outdated versions of ourselves because of this very fact, the FEAR around change. What will happen if I grow? Who won't love me anymore, what will I lose? The objectivity of the self is HARD work, at least at first it's the hardest. It only gets easier in the fact that you know what to expect and what uncomfortable feelings are coming when you take the time to sit down with yourself.
Objectively looking at myself was one of the most interesting, uncomfortable, and ground-shaking things I have done and continue to do. In a book I read through the beginning of quarantine, by Ram Dass' called Becoming Nobody, I learned of what I now call "Mirror Therapy". I don't know why I call it that, for me, it just feels like I am literally getting a therapy session with my soul. Sounds ultra cheesy and weird but this shit is hard work and yields amazing results for self-realization, awareness, and growth so stay with me.
You sit in front of a mirror, with no one else, no interruptions NOTHING around you. You sit and you look at yourself, in your eyes. What do you see? Why is looking back? What do you feel? What emotions come up? Just feeling, looking, feeling, looking. I recommend about ten to fifteen minutes to start, more if you can to really have something come up. For me, it took about ten minutes and the emotions started to flow. Afterward, record your emotions and what you felt. This is a fantastic opportunity to uncover hidden unhealed emotions in ourselves. The parts we cannot see and do now know are the ones that control us and dictate our behavior.
Do this exercise daily or at least weekly or every other day to uncover your hidden feelings and unhealed emotions. When I did this exercise I experienced deep fear of abandonment, loss, shame, and guilt. There was a part of me I wasn't allowing myself to see because the shame attached to it was too great for me to process and unpack. I repressed the trauma, packing it away so neatly that I didn't even see it anymore, I had to feel it. And the only way to feel it was to eliminate distractions and sit with myself.
Why Do This Exercise?
If you're consistently unhappy or find yourself angry, depressed, or anything super negative OFTEN, there is likely unhealed trauma and unaddressed beliefs based on your core wound at work. This is one of many exercises I practice and teach through my coaching to identify and unlock the emotional blocks that hide in our minds. Most of us don't know how to sit with ourselves because all that scary shit starts to bubble up when we ARE alone, so we distract ourselves so we don't have to deal with it. But guess what ladies and gents, you ARE dealing with it, just in the shittiest ways possible. You're dealing with it through your behavior unconsciously, which means your blind spots are making your decisions for you. Remove the blind spots, and take the power back.
Do you ever react in a way that surprises you? I have, many many many times over. Just recently actually my friend accidentally hit me in the face with a bag of chips. I thought it was on purpose as a joke and I had a strong reaction, both physically and verbally. I apologized immediately, realizing that was a trauma response. If you have ever been hit by a parent or guardian you know the feeling. I felt really bad for my reaction but understood it was based on past trauma. This is an obvious and LOUD example and while I failed in the reacting department, I passed in the explanation and apology department. I understood why I reacted that way and apologized for my behaviour and now I know that I can take a second or two to analyze the situation before I react. This was last week too, by the way, we're ALL a work in progress. It's awareness and action through that awareness that sets people apart. Some wish to stay in denial and ignorance of their wounds and behaviour, while others are aware and actively working on themselves.
Take the challenge and try sitting with yourself uninterrupted for a while and see what comes up. The results may surprise you and even lead to something wonderful.