Reflections: Yours and mine

This week’s photography theme is that of Reflections, which got me reflecting!

How do you feel when you you see a beautiful reflection such as the trees, sky and clouds in the still water of Lake Matheson…. (February 2015 in New Zealand)

Reflections on Lake Matheson, New Zealand

…or the golden rays of the reflecting setting sun, dancing on peaceful waters in front of the town of 1770 (Queensland, Australia)?

Sunset reflections over 1770

Are you like me and ooh, and aah, and breathe in deeply and bask joyously in this glorious beauty?

We are taken in by the colours, or sounds or even sensations we experience, as we deliciously feed our senses on this panorama before us. And why not, for it is there to be freely sampled to our heart’s delight.

Tell me then, what happens when we stand in front of a mirror and see our own reflection? It doesn’t matter whether we are dressed or naked, most people will say “I hate seeing myself in the mirror”.

If this is you, what stops you
from having that same sense of appreciation
for your own glorious being?

What has contributed to your denial of your own beauty? What self-attacking thoughts have led to feeling shame or guilt, or anger or sadness about yourself? When did it start? More importantly, when will it stop and even more importantly, how will you stop it? How can you stop thinking and feeling like this about yourself?

Ever noticed that some mirrors seem to distort the reflection more than others? Was it the mirror that was distorted (aside from those crazy fun-house mirrors) or realistically speaking, was it your distorted perception of yourself?

From somewhere inside of us we begin to develop negatively-impacting ideas, and left unchecked they can grow like weeds to crowd out and choke off anything good.

When I was growing up, my Mother told me frequently that I was beautiful. Perhaps she read some book that said she should do this, I don’t know and as she has passed on I can’t find out. The result of her telling me so often that I was beautiful was not to make me feel beautiful, in fact it had the opposite effect. I decided that I must not be beautiful as she told me so often. My totally incorrect perception or interpretation was to not feel beautiful and that she wanted to make me feel better!!

It took a number of years for me to work out that in fact I was and am beautiful and more importantly to believe and accept this. Now of course I am aging, and I thought that beauty was not so important to me now, only to discover that it is as I wish to continue to love and accept myself.

For others, they haven’t heard any such praise or validation
and long to receive it,
and when they do receive it
would love to be able to believe it …

How can you silence that nagging, negative, mind monkey with it’s debilitating self-criticism so that you can stand in front of the mirror with love and acceptance in your heart, with appreciation of all your glorious attributes both inside and out?

Simply, it takes practise! To practise is to repeat an action, so repeatedly stand in front of the mirror and find one small aspect to appreciate about yourself, and say, ‘I want to love …. (for example, ‘my mind, or ‘my eyes’, or ‘my complexion’, or ‘my nose’, or ‘my positive attitude’, or ‘my upbeat nature’, or ‘my body’….)

By starting with “I want to love” you’ll be taking a small step towards the big result of feeling joy, peace and happiness when you see your own reflection. After practising this daily, twice daily, for about 2 weeks, you’ll find that the inner critic monkey gets off your back, out of your mind and leaves to find another tree altogether. At that point you’ll be able to sayI love my body’, or ‘my eyes, my breasts, my hips, my…’ and feel a giddy sense of delight and wonder in yourself.

This feeling is as impressive as watching a sparkling sunrise, a golden sunset or nature reflected in all her glory across those deep still waters full of treasure.

Sunset Reflections on Wivenhoe Dam

It takes time for acceptance to come and the small monkey voice to give up. It takes time to undo years of non-belief in yourself. So approach this exercise with an attitude of gentle curiosity and acceptance, in a mindfully present manner.

If the mind monkey chatters, simply withhold judgement of the thought, maintain a neutral and objective stance and bring your attention back to the process of appreciating yourself.

Let the thought roll away like clouds across the sky, or a suitcase rolling downhill taking all the excess baggage inside it.

Let go of those old thoughts like a bag rolling awayBy practising without expectation you reduce pressure and stress and increase likelihood of positive outcomes, positive feelings, positive thoughts and positive actions.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced this for yourself? I’d love to hear from you.

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