I was in Fiji a couple weeks ago enjoying the clear blue skies and equally clear blue waters, not a care in the world, when I looked at myself in the hotel mirror.
Who the hell put those there? And why? Why would they do this and destroy an otherwise amazing vacation?
Hotel mirrors are cruel reality checks that make us immediately see ourselves through the harsh glare of imperfection. But they also trigger the dormant (and not-so-dormant) part of ourselves which wants to kick in and criticize and blow up our life.
Life - and the work to do throughout it - is to simply find in each moment something to appreciate about ourselves. Our lives become these grueling battles because we immediately go to the dialogue in our heads that support what a sucky person (we think) we are.
When things are going great in our life it's easy to love ourselves. It's easy to ignore our flaws and incessant brain chatter that's constantly trying to derail us. We look great. We drive a nice car. We're successful or famous. We're loved. We're popular.
But it's not so easy when you get broken up with. Or lose your job. Or did something you regret. Or gain ten pounds. Or get your car impounded.
Here is the new collective mantra:
Is there something about me right now in this moment I can accept and love about myself? Not when I sometime in the future. Not when I lose that extra weight or get fit. Not when I have a lover or get that raise or have a smaller nose or a fancy house or 10,000 followers on Instagram.
Right now. In the face of rejection and imperfection and things falling apart and uncertainty. Is there something here that I can see in myself that I can acknowledge? Appreciate? Respect? Give credit to? Breathe into? Smile at? Love? Can that self-acknowledgment become certain even though nothing else is?
It needs to.
We are not our thoughts. Especially the turbulent, destructive things we say to ourselves. We are the awareness that we have thoughts. So having the "Ah-ha" that we can choose to see ourselves differently than we habitually tell ourselves and then self-correct is conscious realization.
And it can save you a lot of pain and anxiety while staring at yourself in an unforgiving hotel mirror.
That's the work. It's not "woo-woo" work. It's science. It's choice. It's possibility. It's determination to be the master of our thoughts and not let the lies we tell ourselves destroy our happiness in a moment simply because the wiring was set into place many years ago and the dialogue feels awfully real.
As you continue to change that wiring you won't even need to look at a hotel mirror. Because you'll be too busy living that beauty instead.
Actors in video: Justene Alpert and Katelin Chesna