You’re Not Always What You Think
When you look in the mirror, who do you see?
Not surprisingly, the image that we see and the image that the world sees are very often in-congruent. Yet when our inner and outer selves are at odds with each other, it’s a recipe for stress and depression.
We often say, “I’m my own worst enemy,” and when it comes to self-esteem, it’s too often true. This self-loathing is especially rampant in young people, fighting to live up to the unrealistic physical examples of movie stars and models in our society. Our national obsession with thinness and having the “perfect body” may also affect our self-worth if we’re demonized and terrorized by our genetic Russian roulette, by illnesses or lifestyle that have destroyed our weight, hair, or skin tone.
Most of us look in the mirror–or avoid it altogether–and only see our flaws: our nose is crooked, our chin is too sharp, our hips are too wide, our breasts or bottoms are too big or too small. What’s worse? Our concept of what’s ideal may be incorrectly described or misunderstood by childhood trauma or adult post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Debra Norwood, Laughter Lawyer USA, feels a special call to help young people struggling through stress, negative self-image, and depression, and one of the most gratifying exercises she does as a therapeutic laughter leader expert is a positive activity intervention called the Strength Bombardment exercise.
This exercise is not a replacement for psychotherapy, and these World Laughter Tour expert-level practitioners do not claim that these practices are “the best medicine”. However, Debra can testify that they do help.. and very muchso!
This particular exercise begins by sitting a volunteer in front of a mirror, while our “wonderful circle” of trusty friends surrounds us. She then asks the volunteer to pick three or four of their most intimate of friends to stand behind them and look in the mirror with them. As the Certified Laughter Leader expert leads them in a way to speak to themselves, the subject begins to enumerate within a limited time frame, all the positive things they can say about themselves.
Sound like that might be tough? Never fear, for your wonderful circle of trusty friends is here! If the volunteer gets stuck, the friends jump in to help. The volunteer then is given time to reflect upon and report about what they learned while the rest of the group refrains from judgment.
This exercise works for all types of people, but Debra adores completing it with women, and young people most of all.
“Looking in the mirror and laughing and loving the person we see is a way of recognizing that we are indeed ‘precious’ and have the right to view ourselves in a kindly and charitable light,” Debra emphasizes.