Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall


Faces always talk too much. One line and all their plans are revealed.”
― Floriano Martins

When I look at this face of mine, it appears hopeful, tired, lovely and worn — all at once.
Like my puppy gazing into a mirrored surface, I tend to get skittish and look past it.

I don’t recognize it as my own.

I’ve been attempting an exercise that Louise Hay wrote about recently.
Oh….that rascal—that pusher of buttons.

It’s darted in and out of my experience, like children playing tag.  I’d hear or read about it and I would think: oh, I’ll have to try that.

Then day turns to night, weeks to months, years pass and my life cycles around in that magical way, weaving in and out of different jobs, friends, laughter and tears, and….Here it is again.


This time when I read it, I immediately walked into the bathroom and stood before the large mirror that hangs over my sink. No waffling, getting distracted or waiting for a better time.
Luckily I was at home.
That sort of determined resolve could have become uncomfortably embarrassing had I marched into a public restroom at a swanky bistro; or taken a dangerous turn if I had been compelled to stare into my car’s rearview mirror.

So there I stood, on my tiptoes.

My husband is 6’3″ and he built our bathroom to accommodate his height.
I get it.
In most mirrors he can only get a gander of some of his chin and neck. Extremely annoying, SO not helpful, and at our age your neck can be demoralizing.

I am 5’4″ on a day that gravity and my self esteem are being kind enough to let me hit that mark. So unless I’m on my tiptoes, which, after ten years at that sink, like a ballerina on point, has become my natural stance, I see only my eyes and forehead.

We really are a circus freak show of a couple.

Standing together, I fit neatly right under his armpit.
He is Paul Bunyon.
I am wee.

Sorry, I digress.


Here is the exercise: you stand at a mirror, gazing deeply into your own eyes.

I know. I can feel your resistance. I recognize it because I felt it for years.

Get back to the mirror!
Don’t look away, which will be your first natural reaction because our mothers taught us not to stare.
For women, this is like putting a blank canvas in front of us, we want to get to work.
Just as we’ve done every morning since the day we were allowed to wear make up, we pluck, shuck, spackle and rouge.

Don’t. Put down the mascara. And those tweezers. Stare only into your eyes.

Now repeat three times: I love you, I love you, I love you.
Without laughing.

I broke into a huge smile and burst into a giant belly laugh during my first attempt.
I’m not sure why.
It just felt like Ashton Kutcher was going to come peeking around the corner with a camera crew and deliver the horrific news that I’d just been “punked”.

But let me tell you what happened instead. Over the last several weeks I’ve been brought to tears, watched my face morph in front of me, felt gratitude and finally love.

I’m falling in love with my own face The same, unaltered one I’ve worn for fifty-seven years.

In love with each line and imperfection of which I am exceedingly familiar. Tiny scars, the varying darts of color that inhabit my irises, and the way those eyes are starting to look back at me.

Full of empathy and understanding, pain and joy.
I’m becoming aquatinted with what inhabits the space behind the eyes, to something deeper still; The observer, my soul.

I suggest you give it a try, but like with me, if it takes a few years, your soul will understand, it’ll wait. It’s not going anywhere.

I love when you talk to me, tell me how this goes. Try it for a couple of weeks and write your results in the comments below.
When you share you really help other people.

Sending love,

  • Homi says:

    Started sabbing @ second I love you to myself in mirror!
    Happy tears, it was a hello to myself:)
    Thank you❤️

    • jbertolus says:

      oh, that’s so beautiful Homi, thank you for sharing. I cry almost every day now too. Isn’t it amazing how we’ve always looked at our reflections and have never really SEEN ourselves?
      I love you too!,

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