My bathroom mirror and I used to be really good friends.
On any given morning, I’d stand there, rehearsing the things I wished I had said in real conversations the day before. You know, like to the other person’s face.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I actually don’t mean a bathroom conversation of the vindictive variety, such as the one where you tell your grumpy Aunt Wilma, “Well if we’re talking about ugly, let’s talk about your face” or your air-headed friend LuLu, “I’d like to convince you, but you’d have to have some brains first.”
NOT that variety of bathroom conversation.
What I’m speaking about here are the bathroom conversations that get really, blisteringly honest. For me these were the moments when, makeup brush or hair brush in hand, I would express the real belief, perspective or idea on the topic that I had held back from a lived situation because of what the other person might think.
I was absolutely clear on what I would have said to them … except that the moment had passed.
Think of these conversations like a mini movie, replaying your moments of silence over again: a wicked morning cocktail of regret, insight, and liquid (shampoo)-induced bravado that we are all too happy to “rinse and repeat.”
This cocktail mixes up in statements such as:
“Actually, I don’t agree that any circumstance is truly out of our control. By saying that, we actually play the victim, and that doesn’t help us move forward.”
“If I’m being honest, I have to say that this sounds like a negative opinion that really isn’t based in fact. Here’s why I believe that …”
“I stand for (or against) XYZ issue personally …”
THAT kind of bathroom conversation is, in fact, far more troubling than the catty variety we see in chick flicks or on sitcoms. Mostly because it reveals who we really are, and just how much of our real selves we held back in the conversation we’re referencing.
An honest bathroom conversation exposes the divide between the real person and the mask she wears in public. It gives us a HUGE clue as the women we really want to be, but are too afraid to acknowledge to the people around us.
When I started to pay attention to my bathroom mirror conversations, I started to see (and hear) what was really going on in my heart. I didn’t like it at all. There were too many important things being left unsaid. I knew I had to make a change.
So let me ask you: what would your bathroom mirror say if it could talk?
Would it declare that you are a woman who dons her makeup and styles her hair in peace every morning, because she said what she needed to, truly thought and felt, and left it all on the field in her interactions the day before?
Or would it tell me you’re a woman who needs her “wicked morning cocktail” to purge the regret so she can start fresh, and wind up back there tomorrow for the same unhappy chat?
Of course, I’m not suggesting we should speak up and say things that are unkind, or (as I said at the beginning) say “catty” things that only reflect a deep personal unhappiness and insecurity. But you know when you should have said something. When the little voice inside was prompting you to speak your truth, but you didn’t.
You know when you feel that deep, profound regret from not really being honest with another human being who deserved your honesty.
The bathroom mirror can soak up that regret. But it can never soothe you as much as having a clear conscience that you said it all, said it kindly, and didn’t give up your ground.
Over the last year, as I have learned to speak my truth freely, I have slowly found myself spending less time monologuing in front of that mirror … and more time out sharing life with my amazing family, friends and clients.
It’s amazing what practicing honesty in all your relationships will do for shortening your morning routine.
Weaning off the morning cocktail can be a difficult rite of passage, but it will leave you more clear headed and so much happier. Not to mention better looking, too.
Like every woman, I love my mirror in its own unique way, but now it can do its job (like helping me be sure my lipstick is actually on my lips, and my hair isn’t sticking out) rather than serving as a jerry-rigged confessional.
They say the bathroom mirror is a girl’s best friend ...
But please don’t ask it to do a job it was never, ever meant to handle.
Speak freely, and you will wake up each day with a heart that doesn’t need unloading.
Lisa England is a storyteller, creative director and communication coach empowering women of influence to break through their communication blocks and reach their audience by speaking their message freely with courage, authenticity and love.