We all have that inner critic that whispers in our ear:
- “I’m such an idiot…”
- “I should have known…”
- “I always mess things up…”
- “I’m too (insert adjective)…..”
Do any of those things sound familiar?
The words that we say to ourselves shape us. I shared before how my daughter inspired me to write The Big, Bad Bully when I saw her saying negative things to herself in the mirror. When I saw that she needed help changing her inner dialogue I taught her the Mirror Exercise that I learned from Jack Canfield. It has made a big impact on how she talks to herself.
The mirror exercise is pretty straightforward:
- First, you stand in front of a mirror and say your name.
- Then you appreciate yourself. You mention your accomplishments, successes, risks taken, disciplines kept and temptations resisted.
- You finish your appreciation by telling yourself “I love you,”
- And lastly, take it in by taking a long deep breath.
Making this a habit is guaranteed to transform that inner critic into an inner coach. My daughter has been doing it for a while now, and I love seeing how it keeps her motivated and positive.
Just this past summer, I came back from a trip and was re-connecting with the kids in the van. I was asking them what kind of snacks we should get on the way home, and one of my daughters said “Do you know what I want? I want to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with myself.” She was talking about later that evening when she would be doing the mirror exercise and going over “temptations resisted.” She wanted to make a choice that she could feel good about later.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we have the capacity to be our best coach, or our worst critic.
I really encourage you to take the 40 day challenge and resolve to do The Mirror Exercise every day for forty days! It is amazing the difference it will make in your habits and in your self esteem. If you think 40 days is a lot, I know somebody who has been doing the mirror exercise for 2786 days (the last time I saw her).
I added The Mirror Exercise to The Big, Bad Bully because it is so important to start these things young. If you are taking the challenge or going to go over it with your kids, I have a free download available if you want to print it. I find it a great reminder when it is taped to your bathroom mirror.