Mirror Exercise – Building Self-Esteem

You and I both know how important it is to develop self-esteem for our children and ourselves. Experts have discovered that a REAL sense of self-worth doesn’t come from just any old feel-good praise you receive. You have to feel you deserve the praise. When you experience a sense of accomplishment and pride it builds self-worth that really benefits you. 

That means that self-esteem comes directly from recognizing past successes. We can’t control whether others recognize us for our victories, so the question is, are YOU recognizing your successes? Are you acknowledging them? Are you forgetting about them?

Think about how you talk to yourself. Ninety-five percent of the thoughts we have every day are repetitive, so chances are you have been saying the same things to yourself over and over. Does any of this sound familiar?
“Oh, I should have known better”
“I can’t do anything right”
“Ugh, I’m such an idiot!”

What is your child saying over and over to themselves? Take a minute to sit down and think about it. Or take a day to notice what goes through your mind throughout the day and do a “thought journal”. Then, at the end of the day, do the Mirror Exercsie and see how your thoughts change and also your self-esteem. It’s natural to feel a little awkward, silly, or emotional when you try it out. Keep at it and reap the results!

Credit to Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles and co-author ofChicken Soup for the Soul® for the Mirror Exercise.

Every night, before going to bed, stand in front of a mirror and appreciate yourself for all that you accomplished during the day. Look deep into your eyes and hold for a few seconds. Maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the exercise.

1. Say your name.
2. Appreciate yourself by acknowledging what you did that day, like:

  • Your accomplishments and successes – Example: “today I got a good mark on a test” or “I scored a goal in soccer”
  • Risks taken – Example: “I introduced myself to the new student in class “or “I stood up for a kid being bullied” or “I apologized to my friend for…”. A risk is anything that leaves you vulnerable.
  • Disciplines kept – Example: “I did my homework” or “I did my chores” or “I went for a morning run” 
  • Temptations resisted – Example: “I didn’t lash out when I was angry about…” or “I only ate ONE cupcake instead of 10” or “I didn’t buy that thing I couldn’t afford” or “I was honest instead of lying when…”

3. Say “I love you!” to yourself.
4. Take it in by taking a deep breath.


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