A Mirror Experiment

Will eliminating the opportunities for negative self-talk help diminish the habit?

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I’m so glad for Cynthia Kane’s new book “Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist: Five Mindful Practices to Silence Negative Self-Talk.” I finished her DailyOM course a year or so ago all about “How to Communicate Like a Buddhist” and found it immensely helpful and enlightening. However, despite the exercises I still haven’t been able to quiet the negative self-talk. At least not when I’m feeling down and out.

I haven’t gotten to the practices yet, but something she wrote in her first chapter already has me inspired. She explains the various ways we communicate with ourselves in a negative way, and one that she mentions is those times we look in the mirror and say something like, “I look so fat today,” or “I hate the bags under my eyes.” I know I’m not alone in being a regular at talking to myself this way when I look in the mirror.

So I was struck with an idea. Because I agree with her that if we’re looking at ourselves throughout the day and thinking these nasty judgmental thoughts, no matter how positive we are elsewhere in our thinking, we’re going to bring ourselves down. And I’m wondering, if the mirror itself were eliminated and therefore the opportunities to judge ourselves were diminished, how would we end up feeling at the end of the day?

This leads me to “The Great Mirror Experiment of 2018” (I highly doubt I’m the first person to come up with this idea, but giving it a mighty title makes it feel a bit more momentous). For seven days I’m going to remove or cover the mirrors in my house. As someone who doesn’t wear makeup or spend a lot of time styling my hair this will be easy for me. I will base my clothing decisions on how I want to feel that day rather than how I want to look. Without as many opportunities to tear down my self esteem based on all my physical and superficial insecurities, I’ll have removed at least one situation in my life for the negative self-talk.

Next week, I’ll report the findings of my experiment and I invite others to join in. Let’s find out how much kinder to ourselves we can be.


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2 comments on “A Mirror Experiment”

  1. This can be some powerful work. What I’ve also done is ask those that I love the most and feel the safest about to tell me what they see in me and become my mirror.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Tracy 🙂 I have a feeling this experiment may have multiple phases and your suggestion sounds like an excellent phase two when I reintroduce the mirrors to my home!

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