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How to See the Truth in the Mirror — And It Doesn’t Hurt

When you look in the mirror, do you shy away from the image of the person you see? If so, you’re like the way I used to be. Fortunately, through therapy and meditation and much self-reflection, I learned how to increase my self-esteem, build my confidence and greet that mirror image with joy that spreads throughout the day.

These tips helped me and they may be useful to you.

1. Treat yourself like you would a good friend.

You wouldn’t be harsh and overly critical of your best friend, so why heap such acid thoughts on yourself? Even if you saw your friend veer off in the wrong direction, wading deep into troubled territory, hanging out with ill-intentioned acquaintances, you’d likely offer your continued friendship, encouragement and support – albeit with a few well-timed suggestions that you hope are well-received. In short, you’d be a true good friend, not a fair-weather-only friend. This person in the mirror that you avert your eyes from? Vow to treat yourself as good or better than you would a dear friend.

2. Regard this as a work in progress.

No, you’re not perfect. No one is. We are each, indeed, a work in progress, sometimes making small strides and other times more significant ones and still other times falling back a few steps. Every action taken, however, contains a lesson to be learned. Those who pay attention to the lesson profit from the experience. They’re a bit smarter the next time out, having incorporated the lesson into their problem-solving approach to life. Being a work in progress should be regarded as an affirmation of life, for finding the path that is best for each of us often requires quite a bit of trial and error. Knowing that you’re on your way toward better things should soften the rough edges of the person you see in the mirror.

3. Highlight your strengths.

You do have value. It’s time to recognize that. Granted, what comes to mind immediately is anything but what you’re good at. Your initial thoughts are how badly you messed up, running over in endless detail all the mistakes you made, your impetuousness, quick temper, jealousy, tendency to ignore detail and more. Hidden, perhaps, are your underlying strengths, areas where you shine — or have the capability to do so if you allow yourself the privilege. Look at your curiosity, your appreciation for knowledge, your ability to easily communicate with others, the boundless ideas you have, the way you have with words. Whatever your strengths, take the time to list them. Then, reflect upon them and strive to find ways to capitalize on them.

4. Celebrate small victories.

If you receive recognition at work, a compliment from a friend, complete a major project ahead of deadline, accomplish a difficult goal, make sure you celebrate these small victories. There’s nothing like the glow you feel when you’re successful at something you’ve done to give a lift to your step, energy to your day and joy to your life. Besides, working hard to achieve desired results deserves a small pat on your back. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

5. Be kind, generous and forgiving.

Attitude has a lot to do with how you regard yourself — in the mirror and otherwise. Kindness, generosity and forgiveness are not only admirable traits in others, they’re also profoundly valuable ones to adopt in yourself. When you are kind, you tend to see goodness and possibility. Being generous helps gratify your soul, while forgiving others and yourself enriches your spirituality and helps increase overall well-being.

6. See how great you look when you smile.

If you need a reminder to smile, think how much you gravitate toward others whose smile is genuine, freely given and reflects their inner personality. Not only is a heartfelt smile a welcoming sight, it’s also indicative of an open mind and heart. Check out your smile in the mirror. See how great you look? It’s this willingness to embrace life and all its possibilities that helps erase all the hurt you previously felt. A smile is a simple reminder of what can be — and you absolutely deserve this opportunity.

How to See the Truth in the Mirror — And It Doesn’t Hurt

Suzanne Kane

Suzanne Kane is a Los Angeles-based writer, blogger and editor. Passionate about helping others live a vibrant and purposeful life, she writes daily for her website, She is a regular contributor to Psych Central. You can reach her at

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APA Reference
Kane, S. (2018). How to See the Truth in the Mirror — And It Doesn’t Hurt. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.