We often underestimate how hard it is to look at ourselves in the mirror. But when we have to, we will often lower our eyes or prefer to fix the side, looking to avoid any kind of genuine eye contact. Some will look at themselves but break the spell after a few seconds with laughter or a grim, feeling the need to light the experience because it became too uncomfortable for them. And for some of us, it will turn into an irresistible urge of crying. For any reason, this (in appearance) easy exercise seems to be triggering us.
Sure, it could be that we are simply lacking self-esteem or self-love, but I can’t help thinking that the biggest reason of all is that seeing our own image leaves no space for the outside. While we usually keep on looking for justifications and excuses elsewhere, the terrible and implacable truth of our reflection doesn’t lie: it shows us the result of our past choices, the reality of our present, the perspective of our future. But also who we are now, who should matter most and who can change what we see. All those things we prefer to conveniently ignore.
Even fairy tale characters can’t handle it. Remember Snow White, what was her mother in law asking? Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Oh, it is not me, show me who is it then? (so I can start obsessing about her). Ok, so show me how I can find her (and turn my anger and vengeance on her). See where this is going? Mirror, mirror on the wall, show me all the stuff that are happening outside so I can continue finding excuses for my behaviour rather than having a good look at myself.
Being comfortable with the truth works the same way than being comfortable with anything: practice, practice, practice. No, I am not going to suggest that you should stare at yourself for hours… You could start by just smiling at you in the mirror- if it feels awkward at first, just fake it until you make it. Or take few seconds to say positive affirmations like “I am a unique set of experiences that make me who I am. From today, I can decide which kind of new experiences are going to make my reflection tomorrow”. Until you feel at ease with what you see…