Try this simple exercise: Stand before a mirror. Looking at your image in the mirror and ask yourself if you can genuinely say yes to the following questions:
Can you completely accept the person you see in the mirror with all the person’s faults and limitations?
Can you absolutely forgive the person in the mirror for all the sins and mistakes in the person’s past?
Can you love that person unconditionally?
Can you approve that person’s behavior and personality?
If you genuinely try this exercise a few times you will realize it difficult to say yes from the bottom of your heart to all of the above questions.
But try this exercise again with a small change.
Imagine that person in the mirror to be your brother, sister, a parent, a child, your best friend, or someone you love very much. Now ask the same questions above. You will notice you can now actually say yes to all of them quite easily and willingly.
Now look at the person in the mirror again and answer this following question:
How many times have you scolded or disapproved of that person for something or the other on the past?
How many times have you become angry with that person in the past?
If you verbalized your disapproval and anger you showed at yourself to another person say your brother, sister, a parent, a child, a friend or someone you love very much, would it not constitute abuse? Would it not be such worst abuse that you become legally punishable?
The answer in most cases is an ashamed yes.
Think back to all the times you hated yourself and shouted at yourself and you will know the answer for yourself.
We all carry an inner critic – a hard-to-please, strict disciplinarian. There is no pleasing this critic. The problem is in attempting it. Sometimes we hear it as the voice of our parent in our head, sometimes it is the voice of a neighbor, a peer, a boss, spouse, and at other times it is just our voice. We can forgive others for their shortcomings easily but we always are unforgiving perfectionists when it comes to ourselves. And that paves the shortest route to ruin and suffering.
Self Abuse is the most rampant of all issues and unless we can each learn to deal with our opinion of ourselves everything we do in our daily lives will only increase our insecurities.
Do the mirror exercise every day. Simply stand before the mirror and say that you accept the person in the mirror, forgive that person, affirm that you love that person, and approve of that person. Keep doing it until you can do it without any inner hesitation or emotions blocking you.
There are so many versions of mirror exercises out there in the web. In spite of the variations, the goal is same, absolute self-acceptance.
How would you know you have accepted yourself? When you notice you are no longer abusing yourself with mental, verbal, and physical self-destructive behavior. The day you stop chiding yourself for every small thing in your life, you have truly reached a state of self-acceptance. That day you will also notice a dramatic change in the way people around you treat you.
When people approach me for Hypnotherapy or Reiki Healing for any issue, this is one of the most common exercises we ask them to do. Self image is the area where most often root causes are revealed in regression sessions.