610. The Mirror Process: Changing How I Look at Myself and Others
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I watched a couple of videos from SOUL about the mirror process which is based on how we tend to judge, compare ourselves to other people based on certain appearances and expression that we judge as being better than our own or us lacking what we see in others, and I could relate a lot to what Sunette explained based on her own experience related to this.
What I recently found is that even if I thought I had worked through this kind of physical appearance self judgment, I definitely faced new aspects of it based on how I related in an instant to a certain woman that I got to meet and how intense this reaction was which certainly too me aback, shifting the way that I experienced myself in one single moment from being the regular comfortable self to suddenly feeling super heavy, stifled and generally tense where I could feel that any smile that I was able to muster in that moment was mostly coming out of the politics of meeting someone for the first time, but I knew that I wasn’t myself in that moment, I knew that I was in fact experiencing a mini-possession that was entirely based on how I defined someone’s appearance to be ‘everything that I am not’ as the ‘opposite’ of myself and regarding that appearance and expression as the epitome of being a graceful, beautiful and feminine woman.
Now, this is about experiencing jealousy and envy based on thinking and perceiving in my head that ‘this is what a female should look like’ and in that by default going back to assuming, thinking and perceiving that I’m not that, I’m not good looking enough, that I don’t have such fine-toned and perfectly shaped body – which I’ve defined as a tiny/small body structure and slim body – and how I immediately got a bit impressed by how this person would have a smile on their face and almost radiating such graceful expression that I judged as overwhelming or ‘too much for my taste,’ which mostly has to do with being intimidated by such ability that some people have to appear almost radiant to my eyes and my perception, almost like beaming with joy or happiness or simple grace that turns it all into an elusive expression for me.
This is also because of how I had previously judged that kind of people in my past and had not entirely resolved my judgments, which led me to see those expressions as fake or not genuine, etc. But! I later on found how these were my ‘defense mechanisms’ to make another ‘less than me’ and project and define all these negative associations to immediately ‘protect’ me from looking back at myself as the origin of every single one of these definitions, assumptions and judgments that I had concocted in a matter of minutes that such interaction lasted, and that was enough for me to have to take care of this whole stifling reaction within me based on appearances, judgments, ideals, projections that led me to feel insecure, less than, seeing myself as totally incapable of ‘ever being someone like that’ which I’ll be sharing how I’ve been walking through this in order to ground each aspect back to reality.
So what I had to do was to first understand and remind myself that every single judgment, idea, perception and experience was a creation of my own, and that I had to realize that whenever I am going into this insta-comparison towards other women based on appearances it means that there are points where I have yet to work on embracing my own physical body as is, my own bone structure, physical form, shape, weight and general appearance as is, because there is no way we can ever change how those essential aspects of our body look like, and no matter how much we would ‘like’ to look in a particular way, it’s physically impossible to do so – and instead the question would be what am I imagining, perceiving or thinking that I would ‘feel’ or ‘express’ differently if I had certain shape or form in my physical body, with a particular skin type or color of eyes or hair and overall looks? And why would I create such scenario within me to create a conflict within me as a hypothetical situation that is not realistic at all?
If I answer that then I would feel more comfortable, graceful and joyful in my expression, then I can already see where am I not living those words as myself because of believing that ‘It doesn’t suit my physical body’ or ‘I am not beautiful enough to express myself like that’ or ‘I am not fit enough to wear such clothes’ and so forth.
Here it’s also convenient to say how I’ve learned a lot from other people walking similar processes in their own lives and bodies and how I’ve taken note of many aspects they’ve shared in relation to appreciating their body, there’s Matti who has shared and walked this point as well as Anna Brix, she has been very open in walking her process to embrace her physical body and I suggest checking them out to see how they walked their points.
I realized that I also have to learn to appreciate seeing certain types of people and acknowledge when they are in fact appearing as beautiful to me or others. This applies to both males and females and see it for what they are, when people have a particular physiognomy that one can regard as beautiful and see it for what it is, a pleasing aesthetic experience. Though in this, also not to reduce the entirety of a person to an aesthetic experience, this doesn’t mean that I have to ‘be that’ or ‘look like that’ in order to be ‘pleasing’ to my eyes or others’ eyes. This is about changing who I am behind how I decide to look at myself and others.
That’s where the point of change comes in as well where I am the one that has to change how I relate to people at first sight, from remaining at a very superficial level of seeing shapes and colors and forms and defining them as beautiful or not – or whether I acknowledge that as the ‘first impression’ that it is and move towards getting to know the person and see who they are as an individual, rather than going away with that first judgment of ‘oh they are beautiful, they are so graceful and joyful, I am not any of that’ and immediately going into an inferiority and self-diminishing position that I created in my own mind and so making it a limiting experience for myself, because it prevents me from actually getting to know the person.
So I had to take a moment to write this situation out and write all the self-forgiveness related to every single judgment, belief, fear, desire, perception that I created that led me to have such an overwhelming reaction to seeing this person for the first time and also ‘caging’ the person in a particular ‘type of person’ that I would not regularly decide to approach or relate to in my life based on the sense of inferiority I would create myself when in the presence of someone that looks and behaves in a similar way, which I turned into negative judgments as a way to see myself ‘above’ that – that’s another mind-construct there that I had to understand in order to see how I perpetuate this inferiority and superiority based on my own judgments and perceptions, and forgive myself for that.
I’ve realized within this all how I am the one that is perpetuating this kind of appearance-judgments in my own mind and how I activate them in an almost instant manner where I am constantly assessing ‘where I stand’ in comparison to other females in my environment, especially related as well to females and fear of loss when it comes to relationships at the same time, where I then fear that my partner would ‘prefer a certain kind/type of body’ and that I am ‘not that for them’ and in doing so, create a plethora of ideas, beliefs, imaginations that I create solely on assuming that ‘I am not perfect enough in my physical body, I am not that pretty, I am not that feminine, I am not that graceful’ based on a comparison made towards another female that I judged to be embodying that in their expression, and assuming that ‘that is more desirable for a man’.
So, how I proceeded to assist me to walk this point is writing all of these judgments out and self forgive them one by one, so that I could see and understand I was the only one that decided to make myself inferior and so uncomfortable in the presence of another human being. I knew that I would not be ‘okay’ within myself until I could walk through this point and actually face the person at least a second time to test out my living corrections, which I got to do and actually get to interact with them for more than 5 minutes – lol – and focus on easing myself in my body, being comfortable and embracing who I am in my body and in my expression in the moment – that means stopping any judgments in my mind.
What did that practically entail? I had to decide to get the idea of me having to ‘be like her’ out of my mind. I had to remind myself of my individual expression which comes in the shape, form and type of body that I have, the face that I have, the weight that I have, the bone structure that I have, the color of eyes, hair and type of skin that I have and that in no way could I keep tormenting myself with aspiring to ‘look like’ another person in any way. It would be like a certain kind/type of tree wanting to become another kind of tree, namely a pine wanting to be like a palm – that is the basic analogy I can remind myself of whenever I am going into this body/appearance comparison, which means I have to embrace me being this particular type and kind of body that I have which I have been aware I can embrace and enjoy as myself and how I can be particularly fine within me and my expression whenever I am not desiring to be someone completely different in order to fulfill an idea or belief of ‘what I would prefer to look like,’ which is again, based on my own limitations of what I’ve defined as beautiful or aesthetically pleasing.
So the real change takes place when I stop focusing on judging myself, my looks, my demeanor ‘when compared to’ other females that I’ve particularly defined as more gentle, feminine and graceful. This also means that I had to instead look at how am I living those words in my own way already or where I can expand my expression and embrace ways of expressing that I’ve suppressed because of thinking that it looks ‘fake’ or not genuine’ – not realizing that I am the only one that knows ‘who I am’ behind any smile, any expression through voice tonality, gestures and words. That’s my self-honesty point and within this, I saw that I am expressing such femininity in my own particular way already and how I simply have to let go of expressing a particular ‘form’ or ‘idea’ of femininity linked to a particular physical appearance that I have defined as ‘more feminine’ that my own, which means: I can embody femininity in my own particular way.
Same with joy, I am aware how I can express joy in a boundless manner yet in a different way than if compared to that particular person in such moment, which means that, of course! I’d always be setting up myself for ‘failure’ whenever I start comparing myself to anyone else for that matter based on how I am living certain words and how they are living certain words or aspects within themselves. This is an interesting trick we create in our minds where we are always setting up ourselves to feel ‘less than’ when trying to ‘have exactly the same’ that others have, instead of simply focusing on what we are/have and seeing what we can develop within ourselves, within our own particular body and expression, because that’s ultimately what individuality is all about, not attempting to ‘be just like someone else’ in form, shape and expression, but learn to see others as sources of words and expressions that we can mirror back to ourselves to see what can I learn from them? How can I express such words in my own body and living experience?
An example is how based on how I had judged similar ‘kinds of people’ in the past, I got to experience my own backlash in that moment based on how I had defined me as not being able to be ‘genuinely’ expressing myself in a joyous and graceful manner without ‘faking’ it a bit – but I’ve realized that it all has to do with how I decide to stand in relation to particular words and expressions and how I had for the most part judged such expressions as ‘fake’ based on my own perceived inability to express them myself. But, once that I got to see how I can in fact enjoy and express myself and how I can relate to people, I can see that I am already being quite comfortable and joyful in my expression, it simply won’t be expressed ‘the same way’ as I can see it in other people, and that’s OK lol.
It’s astounding how much we can keep ourselves stuck in our heads trying to be like/look like ‘somebody else’ which is a pointless thing to do or even attempt; although yes some do go to that point with all current surgeries and stuff like that and I’m not judging it, because now I understand how far we can take ourselves to do something like that to ‘look the same’ as someone else and how it is all driven by an idea, belief or perception of how we think we will FEEL about ourselves IF having this/that physical appearance, while in fact it all exists within ourselves.
We each have the power to decide how we feel, experience and express ourselves within our one and only physical body that I definitely have to, for once and for all, stop seeing as an image presentation that can be ‘compared’ to others, and start acknowledging it as the marvel of life it in fact is, where the skin and structure of the body is only a part of it, yet there’s so much more to this that we are that enables us to live and not only in a ‘basic vital’ manner, it enables us to have the ability to embody/live and express words, actions, decisions, intentions and creations.
That’s how I want to establish my relationship with my physical body, not to cage it or define it in a particular form, shape, color, weight, bone structure or skin type, but seeing it as the actual breathing body of life that I am embodying in order to give myself the opportunity to actually live in it/as it, which means, stopping for once and for all perpetuating the judgments, the comparisons, the envy and jealousy towards other bodies and their appearance and instead focus on seeing me as the life that I can express and live every single moment of every day.
This sounds easy as a solution, but the actual challenging part is to physically change my experience, my expression in those moments where comparison and envy are rearing their head within me and remind myself every single time of the decision to focus on myself as a person that lives and expresses, to expand from the limited immediate definitions and judgments based on what I immediately see through my eyes and go one step further to generate interest and consideration to see what other people are all about, getting to know them, talk to them without being comparing myself to them every single moment. This is the challenging part, but in the situation that I’ve shared here I realized that ‘the next day’ after I had processed a lot of these points through writing, I was able to change my behavior towards that person and be more at ease. This resonant or personality of ‘inferiority’ experience wasn’t completely diffused/gone in that moment, but it definitely was quite a change from feeling heavy, stuck, stifled towards the other person to a more flowy and expressive self which is more like ‘me’ on a regular basis.
What I’ve found in terms of these points that I’ve faced with both males and females is that we tend to essentially make everything that we see as a potential expression within ourselves a source of desire, which is why towards males it led me to ‘desire them’ as in experiencing attraction – which is something I’ve walked in detail at the beginning of this year as well – or towards females in the form of jealousy, envy and comparison, which is more related to wanting to ‘be like them/look like them’ so that ultimately I could be liked/desired/wanted by males the same way I assume/perceive that other males would find them attractive. But, who is in fact defining all of this? I am! Therefore that means that I can change who I am in relation to seeing males and females and comparing myself to other beings in the form of ‘lack’ or ‘desire’ and instead move into seeing: What can I learn from them? How can I expand my own expression and life by integrating a word/living action that I see they are living in their own lives?
So, just as I did with males and instead of seeing them as ‘objects of desire’ because of particular words and expressions they portray, I can do the same with women where instead of immediately seeing myself as either ‘more’ or ‘less than’ someone based on judgments, ideas or perceptions – no matter how subtle or overwhelming – I can always take the point back to myself, work through my emotional reactions towards it, understand them as my creation and originating from me – not anything or anyone else, not society, not stereotypes but my own mind and judgments – and within that rather learning to see, embrace and appreciate someone else for the totality of who they are.
There are times where people tend to say that we have to only focus on what’s ‘in the inside’ and nevermind the outside, but I consider that’s also diminishing or relegating the physical body to a ‘lesser’ stance. It makes one push aside the image factor and make it ‘less than’ the actions, words and expressions that a person represents, instead of seeing a person as the totality of who they are as a body, mind, expression as a whole, no need to make one aspect more than the other. It really all boils down to how I relate to myself and my physical body, whether I am still living in judgment towards myself or whether I am more focusing on living me, living in the flesh/body that I am and using it – for a lack of a better word – to live and express the person that I am in the process of creating as myself.
By doing so, I learn to see people as an expression of their individual and particular body, mind and being and see them as sources of inspiration – when it applies – to see what expressions I am admiring, liking or enjoying in them that I can see I can integrate or incorporate into my own life and day to day experience. That makes me see people as equals, as living bodies that I can always learn from in one way or another, that I can get to know and understand rather than keeping myself at a very limited experience of judging certain appearances and expressions, go into an emotional experience of ‘lacking that’ or ‘desiring that’ and separating myself from that person… yep, that’s not the way to go here.
I also acknowledge that as much as I got taken over by this experience, I also I had the diligence to work on it as soon as I was able to, because I could not be ok within myself and my physical experience based on that reaction, so that’s also based on how I am living that honor and regard towards myself as a living being that understands how stiffing, uncomfortable and generally destructive it is to remain in that kind of reaction and separation towards another human being. And it was sincerely a relief to test my own decision to see them as a person – rather than a source of qualities ‘I don’t possess’ – and relate to the person in a very different manner.
Of course there’s much more to learn and change myself when it comes to seeing these ‘resonant symbols’ as women particularly that I have tended to compare myself to for most of my life, and in that remind myself of the basic steps I’ve shared in this blog related to recognizing, appreciating and embracing individual’s expressions in the totality of who they are, getting to know them – if the opportunity arises – and rather using those moments whenever I am seeing I am about to get possessed by the comparison-judgment reaction into a reminder of embracing me, which implies understanding that equality also means embracing each one’s particular and unique bodies, expressions and living experiences as they are, starting with my own.
Thanks for reading and check these SOUL videos out to understand more about the mirror process for yourself:
The Mirror Process
The Mirror Practice – Part 2