Can you not pass in front of a mirror without glancing at your image? David J. Lieberman, specialist on human behaviour and doctor in psychology, explains.

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“I am not obsessed with my appearance, but I can’t pass in front of a mirror without glancing at my reflection. Sometimes, I look for a long time in the mirror, often dissatisfied with what I see there. It’s hard to say to myself that it’s me, as if it wasn’t me who I saw in the mirror. “

The reasons of this behaviour can be misleading and are often misunderstood. In most of cases, it is not only a case of vanity. You look for your own reflection because it is your unique source of psychic food. Looking at yourself in the mirror feeds your ego. As, actually, you don’t give yourself a lot of value, sometimes even no value at all, you try to be reassured by a “surface” value. It is this value of the mirror that, according to you, enables you to arouse respect and admiration of others. Furthermore, you can believe that the “better” you are in the mirror – better-combed, better-dressed, better made-up (if you are a woman), the more value you have and the more respect you deserve. Consequently, if you have an asset, you give it excessive importance.

A lack of self-respect is often translated by the feeling of having no physical presence. You have the impression that you lack substance and then you fix your reflection to feel reassured and tell yourself that you truly exist. You feel invisible because there is an emptiness in you. You look at the mirror, but are incapable of telling that this image is you. That’s why, when you see a photo of you, you often say: ” this photo doesn’t look like me. ”

As a result, you can have difficulty in interpreting your own feelings and the mirror is for you an indicator of what you feel. When you are in a good mood, you look in the mirror to see your smile, to verify that you are indeed in a good mood. It is because you need to have your feelings verified by an outside source.

DRAW UP A LIST OF TEN THINGS YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF.

It will be, doubtless, very difficult and very uncomfortable at the beginning, because most of people are not used to this kind of exercise. But it is exactly why it is worth the effort. Remind yourselves: the more an exercise is difficult for you, the more it is a sign that you need it!

Make sure you focus on the inner qualities that mark your difference compared to others and on things that we don’t necessarily see in a mirror. For example: “I have a lot of imagination”. “At work, I am good at identifying tasks and meeting deadlines.” “My friends tell me that I organize super evenings.” ” I helped my neighbor a few days ago.” “When I go jogging, I go a little farther every time. “Take all the time needed to identify these ten qualities, even if they seem insignificant to you – nothing should be blamed, underestimated or denigrated. Draw up a list as complete as possible to obtain a representative portrait of all your peculiarities.

Now that you have this list, hang it on the mirror of your bathroom – this way, every time you look in the mirror, you will read what you like in you and makes your special. This exercise is excellent, because it regularly reminds you of your real value – in particular when you feel very vulnerable.

Approximately every month, update your list. Keep the qualities that you most appreciate, but make an effort to find new ones. Trust me, with time, this exercise becomes easier and easier. And it constantly reassures you that the individual who you are is a very alive human being who doesn’t stop moving and evolving.

FEEL AT EASE WHEN YOU RECEIVE SIGNS OF GRATITUDE.

If your mirror has become the unique source of psychological validation of your value, it is because you don’t feel at ease when you receive signs of gratitude, congratulations and words of encouragement. Get rid of this embarrassment by simply learning to accept compliments, without trying to read between the lines, without asking what they hide, without minimizing them and without protesting by saying that you don’t deserve them.

The next time someone tells you: ” you did a very good job by creating these boards for the meeting”, simply answer: “thank you very much” and not: ” thank you, but it wasn’t much; if I had had more time, I could do it better!” Don’t make your interlocutors feel uncomfortable to show you their gratitude; give them the pleasure to compliment you.

If you are uncomfortable in both situations, meaning at making and receiving compliments, learn to felicitate the efforts of others, to give not only to receive, but for the pleasure that it offers you. Because giving brings pleasure. Once you have this positive and gratifying experience, you will also know how to receive with pleasure.

And if all of this seems inconceivable to you, if you can’t bear the idea of showing your gratitude and receiving the one of others, then ask friends or acquaintances to quote two or three things that they most appreciate about you. (If you feel uncomfortable with it, simply tell them that it is an exercise imposed for a mission, an evaluation, a seminary, a training, and so on…) It puts you in a situation where you receive compliments and, at the same time, it enables you to enrich your list of particular qualities!

LEARN TO TRUST YOUR FEELINGS.

If you have spent your life denying or muzzling your feelings, you should stop and learn how to forget it! And it is a liberating experience – just like it is to break a mirror! (Even if I do not recommend you to do.)

Do you remember when you were a child and you were playing with your new toy and another child came to take it from you? In my opinion, you knew very well what you felt! By growing up, we are taught that it is not good to strike our little fellow who steals our favourite toy; that is true, of course. But, unfortunately, we also learn that “negative” feelings must be banished and we have to act as if they didn’t exist. As a result, we feel guilty of having them.

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Accepting your feelings means accepting all your feelings, both the most positive and the most negative. Every time an event arouses an emotion in you, enable yourself to feel it. If you see a sad movie at the cinema, let yourself cry – What do you think that others do? If you think of something funny at work, let yourself laugh. If somebody prevents you from expressing yourself, roar at yourself or strike the dashboard of your car with your fist until the emotion goes away. You can release your true “I “only by clearly identifying and by accepting what takes place in you at some point, without condemning or judging yourself. And when you will be able to live your feelings, you won’t need to verify what you feel in the mirror anymore.