Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mirror Therapy

I've mentioned this term "Mirror Therapy" in a few of my posts before.  I would like to explain what the heck it is and why I do it.  

I'm not certain if this is something that someone else has already discovered or patented as a therapy method or not, but this I discovered on my own.  It has made all the difference.

First you must understand that I am a liar; primarily to myself.  I have decided that there are many things that I have told myself and have believed that simply aren't true.  

I have wanted to undo the damage that I thought others had done to me, but I have come to find out that it was mostly me that had done the damage.  

Sure others have affected me, but the bulk of the things I believed and told myself were self-perpetuated.  I didn't really get that until just a few years ago.

One day during a workout, I found that anger fueled the routine.  I was angry because I had received many compliments over the past few weeks and months about how good I looked.  

I encountered sheer amazement from others about the weight I had lost; some hadn't even recognized me.  I was so angry that others could see the changes, but I couldn't.  

I felt the changes, but couldn't honestly see them myself - so that's totally not healthy, right?  I was angry enough that I quit my workout and was about to leave my home gym.  

As I was headed to the door, I looked in the big mirror and saw a picture of Jesse Owens hanging behind me.  I have admired this picture since I was in Junior High School.  

Then I looked above the mirror and saw the stenciled script that Josh and I put above the mirror.  It says, "Believe In Yourself".  I then looked in the mirror and wondered if Jesse Owens ever doubted himself in preparation for the Olympics.  

The day before this I had just finished reading some material about Abraham Lincoln.  I learned about his personal struggles that ran concurrent with the amazing things that he accomplished as the President of the United States.  

There was a ton of things that raced through my head at that moment.  I simply couldn't leave the room yet.  I got on the inversion table, which is right by the mirror and felt compelled to look in the mirror as I was hanging upside down.

While hanging by my feet I looked in the mirror and told myself that I refused to leave that room until I could see something new and good about me. 

I found something interesting... I couldn't look myself in the eyes.  I was looking at me, but my eyes never met.  The experience of looking at my own eyes was like walking on thick ice, it was so slippery I couldn't make contact.

After quite some time of trying to make eye contact with myself, I gave up and looked elsewhere.  I eventually saw the contour of my jaw line.  

It wasn't puffy like I normally see when I look in the mirror.  I had a jaw line and it was defined!  Well that was new!  Recognizing this certainly counted as seeing something new and I promptly got off the inversion table and got the heck out of that uncomfortable situation. 

What's up with that? I was uncomfortable and it was just me!  I realized that was simply not right.  How much damage had I done?  As I was walking up stairs, I said aloud to myself, "Damn it, I'm worth more than that!"  

That announcement startled me.  It startled me that I said it, I believed it, and I was secretly hoping that Josh wasn't home and had heard me.

I contemplated that experience for several days.  I found myself compelled after each workout to get on the inversion table and commence looking into the mirror, until I could see something new and good about myself.  

I repeatedly rediscovered my jaw line and over time other features.  I discovered and rediscovered time and time again, but I couldn't make eye contact.  

How could this be?  I do my hair and make-up every day.  I am looking at myself!  Over time, I learned that I actually wasn't looking at myself, I was looking around, but not at me.  

It was nearly three months later that I was able to make eye contact for about thirty seconds.  It was then that I realized why it was so hard to do.  

I have lied to myself for so long and honestly disliked myself so much that I was afraid to make eye contact and actually see that I was the problem.  I was the liar.  

I was the one that had done so much damage, by telling myself things that simply weren't true.  It was after this experience that I committed to myself not to leave the gym until I had made eye contact with myself.  

I usually discovered or rediscovered something about myself long before I could make eye contact.  I learned that if I could just make eye contact, I could see if I had been lying to myself that day or not.  

I could fix the damage that had been done that day, by having a real heart-to-heart with myself once eye contact was made.  It is extremely difficult to lie to yourself, when you are HONESTLY seeing yourself.  

After a time I learned that my little therapy sessions were a two-part kind of deal.  There was the Physical Mirror Therapy (seeing the physical me as it is) and the Mental Mirror Therapy (seeing me for who I really am inside).  

Over time I had learned that I am no good to anyone else, until I am good and of value to myself.  

Can you make eye contact with yourself?  What do you see?  If you can and the effect is positive,  I am so proud of you!  I encourage you to see the good, the lovely, the truth again and again for all of your life.  

If you can't make eye contact, try until you can, so that you can undo the lies and breathe freely every day.  Get to know yourself, discover the beauty of who you really are.  

There's not a single soul on this earth, no matter what they have done, who doesn't deserve to see who they really are and then make the necessary changes to have their behavior match their inner beauty.  

This is one of the places where peace is found.  This is one of the places where we can find the strength and courage to make lasting changes.  I would encourage you to see and then believe.

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