Last week I gave you an exercise to do about creating a current positive image of yourself and a future self to aim for. As a result of this I received some comments about how for some people this exercise can be very challenging particularly for people who are in the habit of avoiding their image in a mirror. With this in mind I want to offer you some variations on the exercise so you can still make good progress.
Variation one: if you do not look at yourself in the mirror at all the first step is to push yourself to do so. If it feels really challenging find someone to support you in doing the exercise. It needs to be someone who understands the importance of staying positive with this exercise.
Why am I asking you to do this exercise?
Here’s the paradox, if you continue to hold a negative internal picture of yourself you will continue to feel trapped and unable to take action. By accepting yourself fully “now” you will be able to make changes that will last in the future.
For now just look at a reflection of your face in the mirror. This step is about accepting yourself and as you look at your face I invite you to consider what I already know to be true.
“You are a worthy human being and you have the right to be happy.”
While looking at your own face take a deep breath and say the following out loud.
“I am good enough just as I am”
“I am enough”
“I am worthy of love and respect”
“I can love and respect myself even if I want to change aspects of myself”
“I love and respect myself now”
“I can make choices that will allow me to make changes that I wish to achieve”
“I have the ability to achieve my goals.”
Having worked with people one to one over the years I know that for some people this exercise may be very challenging, there may be tears and you may find it takes you a long time to get the words out. This is why having someone in support is so important. You need someone else with you who already knows you are a wonderful person and that you are good enough.
If you are working in a self supporting group have a discussion before you start about ways to stay accepting of yourselves. Agree to have time outs if you need to and agree some strategies to ensure you do not accidentally re-enforce one another’s negative patterns and beliefs.
Having completed this exercise for the first time repeat it every day until you become comfortable looking at your face in the mirror. Notice how you start to think of yourself more kindly as you repeat this exercise.
Variation Two: If you can already do variation one easily or you have now got to the point where you want to move on here’s the next step.
Imagine your own face in your mind’s eye. Some people find visualising easy while other’s just get a sense of what they are looking at. Either is better and works well. Whatever type of image or sense you get make positive changes to how you are seeing your face.
As you look at that face of your own current internal image alter the expression, head tilt and the look in the eyes so that you are looking back at you with eyes full of compassion, strength and confidence. This is the “you” that recognises your worth and value. This is the “you” that has all the qualities that you need to live the kind of life you want to lead. This is the “you” that is comfortable in her/his own skin even if you want to make changes. This is the “you” that is ready to step into your own rightful magnificence.
Make that picture brighter, more vibrant, turn up the colours and make any other changes to the quality of the picture to make it compelling, attractive and positive. You might even want to give that image of yourself a powerful theme tune or backing track!
Save that picture and look at it regularly updating it as your face changes shape over the weeks and months ahead.
Why am I asking you to do this exercise?
The internal picture we hold of ourselves has an unconscious impact on how we think, feel and behaviour. If we hold a negative picture of ourselves it will prompt self-defeating internal dialogue, unhelpful feelings and we are likely to engage in behaviours that keep us stuck. By changing our internal picture and rehearsing it regularly, this new picture starts to be the new influence. We will find it easier to do the things we know will help us, we are more likely to be kinder to ourselves and as a result feel happier and more comfortable. The more content and comfortable we feel the less likely we are to end up doing things that sabotage our goals.
Once you have mastered the two exercises above you can take the next step. Look at yourself in a full length mirror and go through the affirmations from variation one again this time looking at your whole body. Again take your time getting to a place where you can do this comfortably. Once mastered do the same with variation two.
Next week we are going to look at how to identify limiting beliefs so that you can start challenging internal thinking that may be holding you back.
If you are based in the UK you might want to consider joining me on one of my free introduction to NLP workshops called the NLP 101. These are being held in two locations, one in Bedfordshire and one in Sussex. If you come along to one of these workshops I can give you more personal support.
For those of you not able to do that do let me know how you are getting on via this blog. You can leave comments on the blog or email me direct firstname.lastname@example.org You can also email me for details of the workshops.
See you next week for the next step..