For nearly 40 years, Louise Hay has been teaching others about healing, the power of affirmations and learning to love themselves. One of the modalities she is famous for is her mirror work.
In her newest book, “Mirror Work: 21 Days to Heal Your Life,” she walks readers through 21 exercise to heal their lives and help them tap into self love.
Each day, Hay presents a different theme, a Mirror Work Exercise, a Journaling Exercise and a Heart Thought to support the reader throughout the day. There is also a meditation each day that can be read from the book or downloaded in an audio format.
“Each day that you practice this new way of thinking about yourself and about life will help erase the old, negative messages you have been carrying for so long,” Hay says in the book. “Soon you will be smiling more and finding it easier to look in the mirror. Soon the affirmations will start to feel true.”
The below adaptation is taken from the Welcome chapter, including an exercise from Day 1:
Mirror work — looking yourself deeply into your eyes and repeating affirmations — is the most effective method I’ve found for learning to love yourself and see the world as a safe and loving place. I have been teaching people how to do mirror work for as long as I have been doing? affirmations. Put simply, whatever we say or think is an affirmation. All of your self-talk, the dialogue in your head, is a stream of affirmations. These affirmations are messages to your subconscious that are? establishing habitual ways of thinking and behaving. Positive affirmations plant healing thoughts and ideas that support you in developing self-confidence and self-esteem, and creating peace of mind and inner joy.
The most powerful affirmations are those you say out loud when you are in front of your mirror. The mirror reflects back to you the feelings you have about yourself. It makes you immediately aware of where you are resisting and where you are open and flowing. It clearly shows you what thoughts you will need to change if you want to have a joyous, fulfilling life.
As you learn to do mirror work, you will become much more aware of the words you say and the things you do. You will learn to take care of yourself on a deeper level than you have done before. When something good happens in your life, you can go to the mirror and say, “Thank you, thank you. That’s terrific! Thank you for doing this.” If something bad happens to you, you can go to the mirror and say, “Okay, I love you. This thing that just happened will pass but I love you, and that’s forever.”
For most of us, sitting in front of a mirror and facing ourselves is difficult at first, so we call this process mirror work. But as you continue, you become less self-critical, and the work turns into mirror play. Very soon your mirror becomes your companion, a dear friend instead of an enemy.
Doing mirror work is one of the most loving gifts you can give yourself. It takes only a second to say, “Hi, kid,” or “Looking good,” or “Isn’t this fun?” It’s so important to give yourself little positive messages throughout the day. The more you use mirrors for complimenting yourself, approving of yourself, and supporting yourself during difficult times, the deeper and more enjoyable your relationship with yourself will become…
Your Day 1 Mirror Work Exercise
- Stand or sit in front of your bathroom mirror.
- Look into your eyes.
- Take a deep breath and say this affirmation: “I want to like you. I want to really learn to love you. Let’s go for it and really have some fun.”
- Take another deep breath and say: “I’m learning to really like you. I’m learning to really love you.”
- This is the first exercise, and I know it can be a little challenging, but please stay with it. Keep taking deep breaths. Look into your eyes. Use your own name as you say I’m willing to learn to love you, [Name]. I’m willing to learn to love you.
- Throughout the day, each time you pass a mirror or see your reflection, please repeat these affirmations, even if you have to do it silently.
Reprinted as an adaptation from “Mirror Work: 21 Days to Heal Your Life,” by Louise Hay with permission from the publisher, Hay House Inc., Copyright © 2016