Why is it so hard to look at ourselves in the mirror?
What makes us recoil and look away, having just seen every single flaw magnified a thousand times?
How come all we see is fat, ugly, worthless, a fake trying too hard?
We really do try and try, don’t we, but the mirror always seems to reflect back to us everything we see wrong with ourselves—a bit like mirrors in changing rooms when we go to buy clothes.
We all know this place of wanting to avert our gaze. It’s a never ending cycle of trying to feel love-able and worthy by telling the person we see in the mirror that they are love-able and worthy.
It can bring tears, anger, outrage, self-loathing or disgust, shame. You name it, the mirror will show it to you. And more often than not, it does. And so it gets harder and harder to look in the mirror…
And so we end up feeling anything but love-able or deserving or worthy.
Why is that?
It might seem like this is just plain obvious, this question I’ve just posed. Like it’s so obvious that this piece isn’t worth a second glance. It’s just going to say more of the same, right? It’s going to talk about affirmations and shadow work! It’s going to suggest you keep saying, “I love you, you are love-able!” to the face staring back at you like you’ve done so many times before until you ended up in tears of frustration and self-loathing! Right?
Well, how about bearing with me, just for a short while? How about we walk together and talk a little?
And no, I’m not going to suggest any of those things. Although, there’s nothing wrong with those things at all. But just not today.
Just for today, let’s come at it from a whole new direction. Let’s talk about who we really are? And about why looking at ourselves in the mirror is so often so very difficult?
And about how to do this whole loving yourself thing a different way round?
So, then, why can’t we do it? Why can’t we look honestly right into your own eyes in a mirror and tell ourselves how love-able, talented, deserving, lucky, worthy we are?
What are we getting wrong, those of us who’ve tried looking at ourselves in a mirror and telling ourselves that we are beautiful and love-able and absolutely fine the way we are, only to find it sucks? Why is that we see fake trying too hard? Why?
Well, for starters, let’s try turning everything on its head—let’s talk about Oneness.
That might seem a strange diversion to take. Not really to do with loving ourselves at all.
But let me say where I’m going with this.
I’m guessing, when we look at ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves how beautiful we are, most of us are looking through the eyes of who we have learned to believe ourselves to be—that is, through the eyes of the ego, trickster that it is—and so we will be looking through eyes that are comparing.
Our eyes won’t be seeing us; they will be seeing everyone else, and us in relation to everyone else. Because we will be believing that we are separate and therefore that we and the other are rivals and in a race to be better or the best.
And we all know who wins that competition!
But could it be, perhaps, that this is part of the plan? How about if part of the adventure of this time/space playground we’ve chosen to incarnate into involves our forgetting who we really are for a time, in order to experience what conditional love is like and to find our way back to the joyous truth of the unconditional love that we actually are? What if our difficulty with mirrors is part of our journey Home to ourselves?
Let’s look at what happens if we allow ourselves to truly take in what both non-duality and quantum physics would have us understand: that we are all one? All one and the same energy? That is, that there’s no difference between us? And so nothing to compare? That Oneness unites us, and that there is no separation beyond the illusion that makes it appear to be so.
Every major spiritual teacher and thinker who has ever lived knew and said this. Every single one.
And we all know it too, in our more switched on moments.
We feel it and know it in those moments when we are touched or moved by something bigger than ourselves. We feel the connection. We know and we remember. And in that moment, all competition dissolves. And so does fake. Suddenly we’re seeing what’s really there.
And all thoughts of completion or rivalry temporarily fall away as we see our common humanity.
And then, our common divinity.
And so, why does Oneness matter so crucially in how to love ourselves? Why is it key? Why can’t we look in the mirror and know that we are love-able without it?
It’s because the bit of us that we’re trying to appeal to is actually the Love and Oneness that we truly are, and not the ego.
The ego can’t love; the ego fears. And competes.
Only the Essence that we truly are can love. And that is because each of us is love: you are Love, and I am Love, just as is everyone else. And we are All That Is.
So I would suggest that maybe we’ve been trying to do it all back to front.
We’re not failing when we try to say affirmations to ourselves in the mirror; we’re simply saying them to the wrong person in the mirror.
See, if we were to look in the mirror, right into our eyes, but then to go through them, beyond them, and we stayed with it long enough, we would get to something else.
We’d have to not get scared. Because before we got to Oneness it would feel like we were going into nothingness. Everything would blur because we would be going beyond physical reality, beyond the illusion.
But if we really stuck with it, suddenly we’d be looking right into the Source that we really are. And we would feel the most amazing Love envelope us, the most incredible sense of wellbeing surround us, and we would find ourselves knowing that we did indeed love ourselves.
Because we would know that everything is Love. Including us.
And that since we’re everything, and in everything, just as everything is in us, there is no comparison or competition because there is no separation.
You can’t compare Love with Love. You just come up against Love.
We would also see—and this is the tough bit, the bit that can shock us—that the sense of competition and rivalry that we’ve been convinced was coming from out there and making us feel so unworthy was actually coming from in here. All the time!
That’s because, once we truly get oneness, and what smoke and mirrors is really about, we see that we are simply One Being, being many beings, all mirroring our beingness back to each other.
Complicated stuff, this smoke and mirrors, isn’t it?
When we see beyond the illusion of separateness to the truth of our Oneness, unworthiness becomes simply impossible.
That is when we no longer have to try. That is when we simply are.
The eternal I Am. Looking at itself in the mirror.
That’s when the smoke finally clears, to reveal the magic of the Universe at play!
Gotta love that!
Author: Janny Juddly
Editor: Emily Bartran