Hiya Creative Monkeys!
I LOVE mirrors. I remember when I was a kid I used to play with two mirrors together: Did you ever create that cool effect where you can see yourself looking at yourself, looking at yourself looking at yourself … a reflection within a reflection within a reflection to infinity? (E-mail me if not, and I’ll tell you how it’s done, so cool!) It’s fascinating to consider how EVERYONE in our society looks in the mirror at least once a day. Mirrors are kindof like altars, where we unconsciously practice the daily ritual of getting our appearance ready for the rest of the world to see, all the while saying affirmations about our look to ourself in our head while we look in the mirror.
I am fascinated by this self talk that happens in front of a mirror. (I talked a little about self talk in the New Year, Renewed Chi entry.) Think about it: Typically, when we look in a mirror we tell ourself things. These messages are influenced by everything; how we were raised, magazines, marketing messages that are … well … EVERYWHERE, the Web, billboards, our friends, TV, and even video games. Our self talk–perhaps most significantly–stems from our self identity and worth. If we stop to think about our thinking, we can reshape our thoughts and be kinder to ourselves and ultimately live with more joy!
Here’s a random sampling of my self chatter–the words that go through MY brain–when I look in the mirror, at different times: (I’m cringing over a few of these….)
Oh, Becky, you look … (each separate comment happened at different times)
Did this shirt shrink?
I like my natural look.
I look just messy!
Can I steal a shower today?
Natural’s not workin’ for me today. I need some makeup.
My face looks thin.
My face looks plump.
I’ve got a pimple.
Hello there Gorgeous!
I need to do something with my hair.
I LOVE my life and everything in it!
How’d THAT get THERE?
I’m glad I don’t dye my hair. I love my natural color.
Gosh, maybe I SHOULD dye my hair?!!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my whites, my wisdom is showing. uhhh, but why do they have to stand up like that?!
Ok, that was a truthful, raw, brutally honest (and brave, don’t ya think?) look at my mirror talk. Yes, there’s room for improvement. How about yours?
Ok, what to do about this? To create a new habit we need to break a pattern. Visual interruptions are great way to jar our habits and create a pause in our thinking long enough to let some sunshine in. So it’s time for a little Monkey Chi Monkey Do magic!
This togetherness project was inspired by the thoughts I’ve shared here already and the books we’ve been reading at our house. I’m reading a book called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and the girls are reading the Harry Potter series by the magnificent Joanne Rowling.
The Four Agreements shares ancient Toltec wisdom about the power that words have to shape our personal happiness. Ruiz emphasizes the importance of the “First Agreement,” to Be Impeccable With Your Word. Words manifest our intentions. Words are the beginning of our creative power. Words can create and words can destroy.
This book got me thinking about how I use words with others. At our house, we try to be mindful of the words we choose. We tend to use words to lift people and try not to use words that limit or judge folks. So, it seems our out loud words are mostly good and empowering. Whew! That’s good.
Hmmm. But what about the words that we don’t say out loud? Those words that cruise on auto-pilot through our brains, our own self talk? Our mirror talk?
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Chapter 12), Dumbledore tells Harry about the Mirror of Erised. He says that the happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised (desire spelled backwards) and see himself exactly as he is. He says that the mirror gives neither knowledge nor truth, and that men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, driven mad, not knowing if what is shown is real or even possible. Whoa … Rowling is such a Writer Goddess! Talk about the power of metaphors!
Think about all the mirrors in your house. Mirrors have this magical power to transform our moods, perhaps more often from good to bad, don’t they?
I wondered what my daughters’ self talk sounds like, so I asked them. At ages 9 and 8 I was quite relieved that they have quite beautiful thoughts when looking at their mirror image selves. (Note to self: Investigate this again in a couple years when media and worldly influences aspire to homogenize them and remove their self esteem and self acceptance.)
What is YOUR self talk like? Have you ever asked your partner or child what they tell themself when they look in the mirror? What kinds of things go through your mind while gazing into the looking glass?
Let’s get our friends and family in on an activity to JOLT our self talk and look at ourselves in a different way–literally– with this fun and quick little disconnect-from-technology-and-create-something-together project!
♥ Mirrors (all of them in the house)
♥ Water-based or Washable Markers. Test to make sure they will wipe off. If it doesn’t, try rubbing on some magic baking soda (a.k.a. bicarbonate of soda for our Monkey Chi’ers outside the US. I ♥ ♥ ♥ our readers in England, Aussie Land, and New Zealand! If you’re a subscriber from another country, please e-mail me and introduce yourself!)
To draft an inspirational and beautiful Power Talk Word list, simply ask: What words make you feel good and happy? What words feel like word hugs and snuggles? What makes you smile ? If the mirror was your biggest fan, what would it to say to you?
Here’s a sample of what now adorns the mirrors at our house:
Home Sweet Home.
I am HAPPY…I am GOOD!
I LOVE YOU! I LOVE ME!
Roses are Red, Violets are blue, I love you, you are just you.
This is COOL!
I love US.
(My Honey made a backwards message that you need another mirror to read, so clever!)
Me Glourius Me (my darling daughter’s spelling … I luv funetic spelling, dowunt yoo?)
A face made out of words that says I’m special. Specialness surrounds me. I love me. Smile. ME rocks! I love me.
Life is life.
I love God. God loves Me.
Oooh, aren’t these words just GORGEOUS and uplifting and happy?!!!!
Come on … I dare you: Break that unwritten rule that says, “Don’t write on your mirrors” and give it a try! Post a comment (use comment linky at the upper left-hand side of this post).
After this rule-breaking self-talk transformer, let’s vow to never nasty negative self-talk ourselves in the mirror, EVER AGAIN! And if we need a reminder, grab the markers and get writing!
Wishing you love love love and the blessings of many wonderful togetherness moments!
Becky and the Monkeys
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