It’s day seven of my new morning mantra. It’s a short ritual that’s supposed to change the way you think about yourself. Every day, first thing, for a month, you look in the mirror and say, “I accept myself, unconditionally, right now.” That’s it—no money (or money back guarantee that’s too difficult to ever obtain) no special trips to the health food store for all protein or no protein empowering drinks, not even a book to buy.
This idea came up when I was sitting drinking tea with two friends after our weekly Sunday walk. One woman had recently read about it.
“But I try not to look in the mirror first thing in the morning,” I said.
“Mirror? What mirror?” said the other woman.
However, after some discussion, and by the time the tea was finished, we had all agreed to try it. The theory is that after a month of saying this, you will actually start to see yourself in a more positive light, which would lead to more positive experiences for yourself and those around you. I can’t help but find a little fun in this:
“I Accept Myself (Some Conditions do Apply), Right Now”
“I Accept Myself, Right Now, But Think That Means Lowering My Standards Too Much.”
“I Accept Myself, Unconditionally, But Only If You’re O.K. With It.”
It reminds me of a self-help book first published in the 60’s “I’m O.K., You’re O.K.” This title was ripe for ridicule among young people at the time, which is not to say we didn’t read it. We just liked to have our own variations, our favorite being:
“I’m Not O.K., You’re Not O.K, but That’s O.K.”
But back to the current self-help plan. On day one I did this little mantra, feeling rather stupid and glad no one could see me. I tried to look carefully at the face before me and realized the point is not to avoid the things I didn’t like reflecting back at me. Rather, the point is to be honest about all the shortcomings you see (inside and out, real or imaged) and think, “I’m O.K.” (for the “You’re O.K.”, I guess that’s up to you). Doing this, I remembered seeing Rose, at age 7, looking at herself in that very mirror and saying, “Looking Good!” I envied her the enthusiasm that youth can bring as I was finding it hard not to grimace. Besides not being crazy about what I was looking at, I’m hardly a morning person and it’s not easy to be positive at 6:00, especially when it’s still dark outside and all the animals need feeling. But nonetheless, I have decided I might as well carry it through to the end. Otherwise, there’s no way to know if it works.
And who knows, it just might work. If I have to align myself with one group or another, I’ll join forces with the less cynical of this world. For many years I sponsored a child in Indonesian. My money supposedly went to help her buy books and uniforms so she could attend school, and I believe it very likely did, though I had no real proof other than the poorly translated letters she sent me twice a year. While in my late 20’s I told a close friend, a genuinely good person, about it and she said, “I’ve often thought about doing that, but I don’t because what if the money never gets to the child?” I didn’t say anything then but I often think about that conversation and what my answer would be. It’s the answer I always want to tell myself as well—-“But what if it does?”
There are no magic mirrors—just the belief that you have the power within you to change things for the better. Maybe that’s magic enough. Twenty-four more days to go.