The Power of Self-Compassion
Mirror Mirror

The Power of Self-Compassion

This actionable framework helps boost your self-love, self-affirmation and kindness to the person in the mirror.

Instead of looking in the mirror and thinking negative thoughts, Julie Nee, co-creator of The Power of Positive Leadership training program, maintains that changing the way you talk to yourself so that you reflect positive perceptions will transform your life. Nee – who is both the author and the publisher 0f this book – empowers you to take ownership of your thoughts and feelings in order to cultivate the self-love that fuels personal growth.


Many people engage in negative self-talk. Nee reveals that 80% of the average person’s daily thoughts are negative, while 95% are repetitive. She sets out a framework to help you recognize the habits that undermine your confidence and to break any negative loops of self-criticism and harmful self-talk.

The purpose of a mirror is to give us an accurate depiction of reality, but we bring all of our baggage and judgment to our reflection.Julie Nee

Nee recommends integrating her SHINE framework into your daily life. The SHINE acronym stands for: Smile, since smiling is contagious for both yourself and others, smile at yourself in the mirror to provide the love and encouragement you deserve. Harmonize by bringing your words and actions into alignment, and showing kindness to yourself so that you can also be kind to others. Reflect on how your actions affect others so that you generate a positive Impact. Impact others positively as you build your self-awareness and reflect on how your actions affect those around you. Make sure that your activities have the positive impact you desire. Nourish yourself by putting self-care activities at the top of your to-do list. And last, Elevate each experience, even the tough ones. When you face setbacks or challenges, remember that you have the skills and will to rise above adversity.

Make sure your environment aligns with your goals. For example, if you want to exercise more and become healthier, move to a neighborhood with better access to parks or get rid of negative influences in your home, such as junk food. Adopt a learner’s mind-set, treating relationships and experiences as avenues for growth. Purposefully, lovingly create the circumstances that inspire you to grow.

Nee also cites the Law of Attraction which holds that you attract whatever you focus on, as one reason that positive self-talk puts you in a better position to achieve your goals. Nee suggests identifying and correcting negative self-talk and reframing it with positive self-talk. Negative thoughts aren’t facts. You can choose whether to believe them, and you can replace them.

Our mirror can be a friend instead of an enemy, and you can become a friend to yourself — you and you, BFFs.Julie Nee

Embrace the transformative power of smiling at yourself. Look in the mirror and speak kindly to yourself, congratulating yourself for your accomplishments and showing compassion for any failures or flaws. Use mirror work to shift your self-perception and build your self-esteem.

Honesty and Authenticity

Loving yourself includes accepting yourself as you truly are. Manifest your authentic self with the actions represented by the acronym “SWITCH”: Speak Up, since your ideas deserve to be heard. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts at meetings and in relationships. Wear clothes that express who you are. Investigate whether you are presenting yourself honestly and authentically. Perhaps you are muting yourself because you want to conform or you want others to like you. The T in Switch stands for Tell the truth.” When people ask you how you are, don’t pretend to be “fine” if you’re not. Your relationships will deepen when you present yourself honestly. The next step is to “Cut the facade;” be honest about your challenges. Don’t curate a false public identity. And, lastly, “Hold up the mirror” so you can reflect on how to show up as your authentic self. Consider ways to be more genuine.


Setting boundaries can be an act of kindness to yourself. Figure out what self-kindness feels like; identify what you need – and don’t need – and ask for it.

List the top three things you want to accomplish, then write down the steps you’ve taken to achieve them, noting where you could do more. Tell people what you want. Let them know, for example, if you’d rather enjoy an activity you’ve selected instead of joining everyone else in some group activity you won’t enjoy. You don’t have to say yes in order to avoid conflict; you can phrase your preferences positively. 

When necessary, set boundaries delineating what you are willing to do – and what exceeds your capacity. For example, if you don’t enjoy hugs, manifest a healthy boundary by saying you would prefer that people don’t hug you. Say “no” in a loving way, with the goal of bringing growth and healing into your relationships.


Nee reminds you that you’re probably not as self-aware as you think you are, but then, no one is. Self-awareness requires having an accurate sense of how others perceive you and how your actions affect them.

Strengthen your self-awareness by looking in the mirror and asking, “What emotions am I experiencing?” and “Are my thoughts facts or opinions?”  Take ownership of your thoughts and feelings when you reflect. Don’t dodge accountability by blaming others for your emotions and reactions.

Self-care and Gratitude

Just as you give plants the sunlight and water they need to live, Nee says, nourish yourself to cultivate your health and personal growth. Create space in your life for stillness. Take time to meditate. Avoid distractions, such as binge-watching television or cramming your schedule with unnecessary meetings. Give yourself permission to do nothing.

Practicing gratitude provides health benefits ranging from elevating your mood to boosting your immune system. To nourish your optimism, list everything you’re grateful to have. Couples who express their gratitude for one another report feeling more positive about their relationship.


Our brains are malleable, and just like a dog can learn new tricks, we can learn new things anytime we choose.Julie Nee


Practicing gratitude also bolsters your resilience in adversity. Suffering a tragedy can undermine your sense of gratitude, but you can still be grateful about aspects of your experience. For example, if you lose a loved one, perhaps you appreciate your community for showing you love and support.

Never give in to despair when delays or problems arise. Instead, take action. Understand that change is incremental and that detours seldom endure.

Treat Yourself Well

Books about compassionate leadership are common today, and each one cites the positive profit, productivity and retention benefits organizations accrue when their leaders treat their people with kindness and concern. But few books urge leaders – and everyone else – to treat themselves with that same crucial care and compassion. Julie Nee offers a program that relies on the best of cognitive therapy to help you reduce your negative self-talk and its toxic consequences. Nee synthesizes a staggering amount of research and statistics and demonstrates remarkable understanding of human nature. In this way, she evokes the best of Brené Brown and others whose primary message is that for health and happiness, you must treat yourself well, with generosity and empathy.

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