When you look at yourself, what goes on inside you? What are your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and reactions? What do you say to yourself about what you see? Do you look deeply or do you barely glance?
During a talk at an event designed to pamper and motivate, together with a group of nearly 40 women, we engaged in a variation of this practice. The group admitted that deep and sustained eye contact with each other was a challenge. Feelings of discomfort and a sense of too much intimacy emerged. Giggles and loud chatter filled the air as they burned off anxiety and uneasiness.
We tend not to look at ourselves—and as a result, the world—with loving eyes. Try this experiment and take note.
Stand in front of a mirror and look. Look in the mirror. See yourself. Are you really taking your "self" in? What are you seeing? Are you looking at your face, neck, hair, chest, shoulders, or are you looking into your own eyes or the windows to your soul? Just notice your habitual way of looking at yourself.
Think about it: You tend to not look into the eyes—your own or those of others—deeply. When we do look, we often do so with hard, critical eyes, scrutinizing, assessing, judging eyes.
As a regular practice, our eyes are unaccustomed to being used to convey acceptance, respect, kindness and unconditional love, whether to a loved one, friend, colleague, stranger or ourself. I call eyes that express love and appreciation "soft eyes."
What if all of us made soft eyes a daily practice? What if you adopted a new habit of seeing with soft eyes—eyes that are nonjudgmental and loving? What if, each day, you spent just 15 seconds standing in front of a mirror looking into your own eyes, making loving, nonjudgmental eye contact with yourself?
Just 15 seconds each day where you simply look deeply into your own eyes and accept what you see and experience, without the judgment of deciding if you look good or bad, ugly or pretty, pimply or perfect, wrinkled or smooth, tired or rested. For those 15 seconds, look into your own eyes and send messages of unconditional acceptance to your body, your soul, your self. No criticism or compliments. Just acceptance of you exactly the way you are.
Imagine the positive impact this simple little practice will have. Try it and see. Then write and tell me about your experience. I'm willing to bet this 15 second ritual will deepen your sense of connection with your deeper self: your spirit and purpose.
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