The final week has arrived. I feel more comfortable with myself when I look in the mirror. I talk with myself in the mirror more than I did before starting the mirror work, and in a positive way. I am excited to finish the mirror work and move into more of the author’s work. If you can’t tell already, I am a personal development nerd, and I love growing myself as much as I do helping others.
When I opened week three of mirror work this morning, I read the title and closed the book. Nope. After last evening’s coaching class and the emotional impact it had on me, I knew it was best to wait a while. So what was holding me back? The topic was forgiveness. Yep – still struggling with that one. We were analyzing coaching interventions in last night’s coaching class, which was really fun, but when we got to a mother-daughter pair, the conversation hit too close to my heart. What the daughter said aloud I felt and thought in my own head and I started sobbing immediately. My coach stopped the video and gave me space to process this wave of grief and the feelings I hadn’t yet explored.
After I got home from work today, I opened my book and started the work. I closed my eyes and grounded myself in the present moment. I spoke to my mom and again offered forgiveness. This session of my mirror work evoked emotions I have not experienced yet during this 21-day journey. I decided it was time to do what I promised to do: read the letter of forgiveness out loud. So I did. Tears fell as I read what I really needed and wanted to say to my mom when she was living, but I ran out of time. Gosh, there were so many emotions releasing in those moments, I thought to myself, I need to read this again. Thankfully, as I picked up the book to read more about my exercise, the message reiterated that forgiveness takes time and is a process. It’s okay if I need to do this again.
Experiencing love as a child came in different forms and from different people. I think I’m going to quickly list the ways I recall, without stating the person I am thinking of for each:
- Having things bought for me, gifts
- Quality time
- Hugs, big squeezes
- Praise for achievements, especially academics
Love was also hidden from me and my siblings. I remember being scolded, yelled out, chased with a wooden paddle (30+ holes drilled into it!), smacked, silenced, called awful names, ignored, belittled – I know there’s more, but I’m stopping here as I see this list becoming much longer than the more positive one above.
How can I bring myself love? Possibly by doing things I enjoy doing. Here are some of them:
- Creative writing*
- Spending time with family*
- Quiet time for meditation and clearing my inner voice*
- Listening to uplifting podcasts, music, and audiobooks
- Organizing, decluttering, freshening up space*
- Making art
- Watching movies or favorite tv shows
- Sitting on the back porch taking in the beauty of nature through my senses*
Part of today’s assignment is to choose 5 things on that list and do them. I marked them* and look forward to pampering myself.
Thinking back to my five-year-old self. What did I love to do? What was my world like? To be honest, it is foggy thinking back to that young age. I have a picture of myself back then, smiling and enjoying what life is bringing to me. From my memories, I recall loving to play inside and outside, I loved using my imagination, and I loved going to my grandparents’ homes and visiting aunts and uncles.
What worries were present? Hurt feelings? At that age? I don’t remember. But, if I move that age up a couple of years to 7, 8, or 9, then I remember starting to feel a loss of control. I worried about things because of my parents’ divorce. How are these feelings relating to the stress I’m experiencing today? The stress swirling around my mind is directly related to establishing a business. While I believe in myself a lot more than I did even months ago, I recognize the need to achieve that began from the loss of control early in my life. I remember prioritizing academic achievement so much that it lodged itself into my self-worth, equating self-worth with love. Through my inner work this year, I know my self-worth is not related to academic achievement, but instead it starts with me, and me only.
Rise and shine! I nearly shot out of bed this morning to begin my morning work. I had to get up extra early to play a role this Sunday before I could do my mirror work. Now that’s finished, my journaling exercise leads me to identify my fears around money and where it’s rooted from in my life.
My biggest fear about money is that I will live in poverty, unable to provide for my family or pay bills. The stem of this fear is all too familiar: I experienced the circumstances growing up and continued to observe the same in my mom’s life. Because of this, I learned early on that money was hard earned, used for what was needed, and kept safe for a rainy day. It never abundantly flowed in my life. Things have changed for the better since earning my own income. My husband and I are able to provide the lifestyle we enjoy, but there’s still a fear around it because we say things such as, money doesn’t grow on trees, where do you think that money will come from? or we’ll pay the bills payday. I see similarities along my life.
I am challenged to dream bigger in this writing exercise. What if money flowed and I had no fear or worry around it? What would that look or feel like? Money would provide a flexible work from anywhere schedule, a house with plenty of rooms to meet our needs, more travel, time to spend with family and friends without a demanding work schedule, and so on. The affirmations for today made me smile and laugh. Shifting my mindset around money from lack to abundance has been a goal of mine, and I know I’m doing the work to get there. I can feel the progress.
This morning is all about gratitude. I am grateful I already have a gratitude practice in place; however, as I read my exercise this morning, I thought, Oh crap! I can’t do this one the way I’m suppose to do it! The directions stated to begin before you even get out of bed. Oops! I’m already downstairs at my desk where I may quietly focus on my morning work. I directed my gratitude where it was suppose to go nonetheless.
Years ago as an art teacher, I began writing letters of gratitude to my students in lieu of a piece of paper recognizing academic achievement during the end-of-year award ceremony. I truly believed writing a personalized letter of appreciation to each person who had shown inner and artistic growth or exhibited “salt of the earth” kind of behavior, that it would mean more than a piece of paper with their name and achieved academic grade for the year. I loved doing this practice. Being reflective about each of my students, expressing my gratitude, and then in some cases, watching them read the message was just the best.
Now I practice gratitude in a multitude of ways. In the last few months, I’ve incorporated it into my morning routine. It makes a difference to wake up and immediately feel intentional gratitude to start my day.
Today my daughter joined me for my mirror work session. We recited some of the positive, loving affirmations in the exercises. My daughter giggled her way through it, I guess that was how the “this is weird talking to myself this way” played out for her. It was fun to do with her. I wonder if she would be open to trying it more sometime.
A reflection. The last 3 weeks have helped an incredible amount. I sat through sessions where I cried, poured out my heart, released pent up anger, but also observed the gentle, loving mother that I am. I now look at myself in the mirror with kinder eyes. Is there still work to do? Yes, there will always be opportunities to grow a stronger relationship with myself. The mirror work gave me tools to continue building a more loving life with myself, so I can have the life of love and possibilities ahead.