Thursday, January 7, 2016

USING MUSIC - Self Love (With or Without the Mirror)

 “Louise Hay is considered to be one of the founders of the self-help movement, and she promotes a technique for self-love that she calls "Mirror Work".  Basically, it is positive self-talk, using a mirror.”

Yeah, I know, I said that already (Mirror, Mirror); however, it’s not as easy as it may sound. Corny? Maybe. Ridiculous? Only if you’re concerned with who’s watching, and if it’s just you and you get embarrassed you might have more work to do.

I’m making light of it because it is hard.  Actually, it can be quite scary, because it can bring up things you don’t want to face (like ourselves). Most of us look in the mirror only to make sure there’s no spinach in our teeth, or that we don’t have our skirts tucked into our pantyhose – basically, to make sure we are presentable (or not offensive) to others. We are not in the habit of actually facing ourselves. Many of us take great lengths to avoid it; not spending any time looking in a mirror may seem small, but it’s the most obvious and overlooked tactic of self-avoidance. Try it. Look in the mirror and see how long you can stare at yourself – not fixing, adjusting, or applying anything – and pay attention to how long it takes you to find something you are unhappy with. You will know the exact moment because that will be the moment you look away.

That’s not even the hardest part, the ‘looking’. The hardest part is talking directly – nicely. Try it. The first time I tried to tell myself, “I love you” I couldn’t even be serious about it. I tried and then immediately went into comic mode. I held the mirror at arms’ length, lowered my chin and gave myself my best come-hither stare, and my “I love you” came out more like Billy Crystal’s “You looooook mahvelous!” Then I pursed my lips and blew myself a number of loud kisses.

There was another time I tried and I ended up focusing on my eyebrows, and out loud I joked about my unibrow; from there I went to unique, unicycle, unicorn, and Unabomber. I didn’t shut up until I was attacking my eyebrows with tweezers, having completely forgotten why I picked up the mirror in the first place.

Forgot. Yeah, that’s it.

I mentioned previously that the first time I actually looked at myself in the mirror, I cried. I realized I had nothing nice to say to me, but plenty of other shit to say. And it was so easy. Why was it so hard for me to be nice to me?

Well, with mirror talk being so difficult, I came up with another idea. Using music.

(It always seems to circle back to music with me. Ah, well … it’s part of my charm. J)

I use music to affect my moods quite deliberately; that's nothing new. It was Hoobastank that gave me the idea of taking my deliberateness further with their song, The Reason.  I love that song. As far as I’m concerned it is perfect, simple lyrics sung simply, with feeling –

Yes, I have a playlist of songs that I feel are pure, in that adding anything else to them would ruin the tone. Ask me one day about Marty Balin and his song, Hearts.

Anyway, the chorus of The Reason is:

            “I found a reason for me
            to change who I used to be
            a reason to start over new-
            And the reason is you.”

I would listen to the song over and over, and feel it.

-- Now, I have had an inner mental battle going on for a number of years about relationships, what they are, the whys and the wherefores, yada, yada, yada. I resent the line from Jerry McGuire - “You complete me.” – that everyone gushes over as being so romantic, because I feel we don’t need anyone to make us complete. Romantic relationships should be about two, separate, complete individuals coming together, retaining their wholeness, under one big umbrella.

This thinking, of course, can ruin a good love song.

That is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed (i.e. cried to) a song that goes on and on about how shitty we can feel after a breakup.

But that is another discussion totally.

As I listened to The Reason (and like I would with any heartfelt song), I thought about the song being sung directly to me. First, I got the heebie-jeebies; the thought of someone changing their life for me seemed like way too much responsibility for me to handle.
And then, I heard it sung to me, from me.
(Then, I really started crying. And this happened)
I thought more about it. If we can’t find the words to be able to say something nice to ourselves when we look in the mirror, why not find a song and sing it to ourselves? Not having to come up with the words takes a lot of pressure off, and if the song already resonates with you it would mean those words are just what you need to hear.
Turn the song around. To you. From you. You don’t even need a mirror.
Or, at least, just think about it. When you’re in the car or listening to the iPod and a really nice song comes on, turn it on yourself. If it’s too hard to sing the words, hear them.  
With or without the mirror, it will help change how you feel about yourself. Even if it only makes you feel better for that one moment, it will be enough right then.

Remember, “you’re amazing, just the way you are.”

And you won’t need anyone else to tell you that.