Can you look yourself in the mirror and say “I am Beautiful?” And, How Does That Have Anything To Do With Dementia

Such a simple question.  Have you tried it?  It was so awkward for me that it really got my attention.  Why is this so weird?  Why am I so uncomfortable?  I feel vulnerable.  And, why does telling myself “I am Beautiful” make me feel vulnerable?  Did I not trust myself?  Could I not get intimate with myself after years of criticism?  Deep down in my spirit, I had hurt myself.  Being vulnerable teaches trust and love.

When we are little girls, we say we’re beautiful.  We twirl around feeling 100% confident saying we are beautiful, talking to ourselves in the mirror, looking ourselves over and being very pleased.  Is that little girl being selfish or boastful?  No.  Does she feel vulnerable?  No.  She has no ill feelings toward herself.  She is completely 100% confident and pleased with herself.  And, she’s not wrong.  Just because we are older, that does not mean we lose the privilege of being pleased with ourselves.  Being pleased with ourselves is the root of our confidence.  I truly believe at the very base of our confidence this is where we may be shaken.  If you can look at yourself straight on in the mirror and be pleased with who you are and how you were created, confidence and self-worth explode all around you.  You see life in a new light.  You go out with your head held high and your shoulders back.  You’re eyes are open.  You’re able to see.  See all that’s around you to be thankful for….your family, your friends, your home, your work, etc.  That judgmental spirit is lifted off of you.  When you look at yourself and do not judge, your ability to stop judging others is established.  How freeing!  What sort of decisions come out of this state?  Smart and bold decisions that move yourself forward.  Brave decisions.  No fear.  

It took me about a year of practicing this that now the spell is broken. I have to keep it up though.  I don’t listen to the lie that says telling myself “I am Beautiful” is being proud and is wrong.  I don’t feel vulnerable.  I don’t judge myself in the mirror.  I accept myself.  I love myself.  In this state of mind, I can shut the door on the past and not beat myself up.  I can look at decisions as I made as part of God’s plan.  I don’t judge what happened.  His ways are not our ways.  I am thankful for my past.  It has made me who I am today.  I love my life.  I am thankful.  I am not so critical of everything around me trying to figure it all out.  I am at peace.

The more I work and live with women I am convinced this simple task of looking in the mirror and into our own eyes and saying “I am Beautiful” is the single most important practice we could do to really start on a path of being truly happy – and healthy for that matter.  If you cannot speak it out loud to yourself no matter how successful you are, you really do not have the confidence it takes to go to the next level in your relationships or your career.  That statement may seem too strong but really think about it.  Humor me for a moment……

As I work with women in families and health care settings, from daughters, nieces, moms, directors, therapists, nurses, physicians, and housekeepers, I cannot tell you the number of them that cannot look themselves in the mirror and say “I am Beautiful.”  I have watched them struggle.  They get their self worth from who they are, what they do, or what they have.  I can see it in their eyes.  They cannot be at peace by the mere fact of who they are….that they are beautiful, that they are a queen, that they are so very special by just being themselves.  Nothing else gives them value.  They were valuable the day they were conceived.  They did not have to earn their value.  They have believed what someone else said about them.  They have forgotten who they are.  They are on the edge of a cliff and don’t even realize it because they believe a lie.  From this lie that they are not ok, from this lie that they have to earn someone’s love or approval, they make decisions that benefit someone else’s life – not their own.  They have very little or no confidence at all irregardless how they act in public.  I get it.  I was the same way.

I get to watch and observe many seniors and families every day and I try to understand what makes one senior happier in their “older” life than another.  Some seniors are very successful.  They are confident, kind, respectful of others and sharp in their thinking.  I don’t believe it’s the luck of the draw.  I have seen some seniors that should be very successful.  They do not have any real serious health issues and their family is supportive yet they struggle.  And, I have seen other seniors who have had serious health challenges and some family dysfunction, yet, they are happy, strong and motivated.

Bottom line?  What do they believe of themselves?  Are they beating themselves up for the way they treated their children, for the career path they chose, or for the investments they had or didn’t have?  No.  They were not perfect and didn’t have a “perfect” life.  They just have this underlying confidence that they still love who they are.  They can look in the mirror and tell themselves “I am Beautiful.”  “I like who I am.”  “I love the life I have lived.”  From that core belief, they rise up and make good decisions for their life. They are the leaders of their families setting a standard for generations to come.  They set a standard that is dripping with confidence. One that says stand strong, take the waves as they come, do your best and believe in yourself.  Lighten up.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Everything is going to be ok.  You are valuable for who you are and not for what you obtained, accomplished or didn’t accomplish.  At the end, it all goes back to who you were born to be and the most “successful” people are the ones who love themselves.  From that love and acceptance, all the rest comes.

I took care of a lady who had severe dementia.  She would not take a bath or shower, she was stern and she intimidated people who wanted to help her.  One of my staff persons took the challenge to help her with a bath.  She talked to her, went slow, negotiated and 2 hours later this woman finished her bath and then said “I am woman!”  Interestingly, during the process she saw herself in the mirror and didn’t know it was herself.  She thought it was a friend.  This woman loved anything doing with beauty.  She was always fixing her hair, wearing her big shiny earrings and cared how she looked.  Yet, if you told her she was beautiful, she could not accept the compliment and would shrug it off.  (Sound familiar?)  I contemplate how all these facts intertwine with each other.  She loved to feel beautiful and be a woman.  Yet, she did not see herself for who she was in the mirror.  This isn’t unusual for people with dementia.  However, I wonder to myself, what would her mind be like if she, as a woman in her 40’s 50’s and 60’s, could have looked in the mirror and said everyday “I am Beautiful.”  What damage are we doing deep in our minds by not having love, acceptance and confidence in ourselves?  What does the mind finally do after years of rejection saying “You’re ugly, You’re fat, You’re not ok?”  I believe even “light dementia” comes from years of rejection and negative self talk.

Bear with me as I introduce one more fact to support the importance of saying “I am Beautiful.”  The latest studies of water are revealing something absolutely incredible.  Water has memory.  When I first heard this, I thought it was ridiculous.  Then, I opened up my mind and looked at the data and studies. Take a look for yourself at this link on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu9P167HLs.  If you want to nerd out and really research, you’ll find there is so much more research being done.   You’ll see where a Japanese scientist has been exposing water to various environments, freezing the droplets and studying the crystal structure.  An environment (words particularly) of hope, laughter, love and thankfulness produces crystals that are so bright, sparkly, and beautiful.  An environment of destruction, ugliness, anger, and hatred produces crystals that are so dark, broken and ugly.  A Nobel Prize winning scientist is taking the research even farther.  You can see his documentary at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8VyUsVOic0.

Now, if water has memory and it reflects and absorbs what’s around it and takes on properties of its environment and the words that are spoken, then, what happens when we are made up of 99% water at a molecular level and we expose ourselves to words that tear us down, foster anger and expose ourselves to so much negativity?  You can’t help but wonder what would the makeup of the water in our body resemble if we would tell ourselves “I am Beautiful.”  “I love you.”  “I am thankful for you.” And, speak these declarations out loud to ourselves as we look in the mirror.  What would it look like if we would shake off the discouragement, and keep ourselves out of negativity?  And, when we go to bed, put a smile on our face and say words out loud that are full of love and thankfulness?  Our bodies heal and mend while we sleep.  That water flowing through us could be so charged with light and beauty because we did one simple thing and told ourselves “I am Beautiful.” 

When we get this deep into our soul that we are beautiful, then we start to believe we are valuable which leads to good decisions for our lives.  We start to believe that we can accomplish our dreams.  We start to get brave.  We start to overcome obstacles that we thought we could never overcome.  We win!  And, it all starts with two simple words…..”I am Beautiful.”  Why not try it?  You have nothing to lose.  It’s free.  It’s simple.  And, it can prepare you for a senior life that shines and is full of health and life.  Senior Life, Live It and Live It Well©

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