I may well do, 'Cherry Berry' - meantime, here's a tip I wrote that contains the story I was going to tell on air during the last show on 'Natural Confidence':
The Friendly Mirror
The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
Until I began working with Amber, I had never heard of the medical condition
known as ‘body dysmorphic disorder’. Body dysmorphia, from the Greek word meaning
‘badness of form’, is a condition where a person is unable to see themselves as
others see them, seeing themselves instead as obese, deformed or even disabled.
She introduced herself on the phone as a friend of a friend and said she wanted
to see me for some private coaching. When I asked her what she wanted to work
on, she said she lacked confidence because she was unattractive and very
overweight, and wanted to work on both her weight problems and confidence issues
over the course of the next three months. I agreed to see her and set an
appointment for the following week.
When she walked into my office, I was taken aback. Amber wasn’t just ‘not fat’ –
she was thin – way too thin. She noticed my look of shock and asked me what was
wrong. I told her that I would show her and tried to get her to look into a
mirror I have in my office, but she became quite frightened and refused.
After teaching her some simple breathing exercises to calm herself down, she was
able to tell me that with the exception of checking her hair and makeup on a
small compact she carried with her, she hadn’t looked in a mirror for over a year.
I asked her what she was afraid she might see, and she replied ‘an ugly fat old
‘If that’s what you saw’, I asked, ‘how would you feel about that?’
She looked at me horrified. ‘I’d feel horrible, like throwing myself off a
‘Because if I’m fat, no one will ever love me.’
‘Do you believe that?’
‘Why do you believe that?’
This one stumped her, so I asked her a different question.
‘What are you concerned might happen if it was OK with you to be fat?’
She looked me right in the eye. ‘If it was OK to be fat, I’d eat myself to
While we continued to explore her beliefs about obesity, attractiveness and
self-worth, the most significant breakthrough Amber made was when I guided her
through the exercise in today’s experiment. Although she was only able to look
in the mirror for a few seconds the first time, before long she was able to see
herself in a whole new way. And as she had feared, she did put weight on – just
enough weight to be beautiful, radiant and whole.
If you recognize yourself or someone you know in Amber’s story, there is more
than just hope – the exercise below can make a remarkable difference in a very
short space of time. Even if your own experience of looking in a mirror is not
so dramatic, you will find simply doing the exercise makes a noticeable
difference to your self-esteem.
I am not a medical doctor and if you have been diagnosed with or suspect you have
an eating or medical disorder, please do seek professional assistance!
1. Stand in front of a mirror with your eyes closed. Ideally this will be a
full-length mirror, but any reflective surface will do for starters.
2. Think of a time when someone you respect or trust paid you a sincere
compliment. It doesn’t matter whether or not you believed what they said – just
that you believe that they meant it.
3. Bearing in mind the positive regard you have for the person who complimented
you, open your eyes and look in the mirror, seeing what they saw. (If this seems
too hard for you, focus only on your eyes as you look in the mirror. Don’t allow
yourself to look anywhere but into your own eyes.)
4. Begin to send love and approval to the you in the mirror. You can do this by
once again closing your eyes and imagining someone you love until you begin to
feel the feelings in your body. Then open your eyes and allow yourself to be the
recipient of those good feelings.
5. Finally, imagine taking a photo of yourself just like that. Any time you
choose, you can remember this image and feel all the good feelings that come with
Many people report that when they first do this experiment, they experience a
strange sort of dissociation, almost as though they are looking at someone else
instead of themselves. In fact, when you look at your reflection through the
eyes of love, you may be seeing your authentic self for the very first time.
Have fun, learn heaps, and the next time you look in the mirror, make it a