…if we don’t find the sweetness in life, then we run the risk of living a very unfulfilled and unhappy existence. The thing about affirmations is that you have to believe what you are saying or rather, you repeat it enough times until you believe it.
It has been such a tough several weeks for all of us. I’m not sure if I have ever felt this uncertain about the future for me and my loved ones, and also the future of world. Everything is so up in the air because of COVID-19. Last week was up and down for me. I struggled to stay motivated and productive as news of the Coronavirus hit closer to home. I spent much of my time watching, reading and listening to news about the disease, while also trying to figure out how to get my family members who are abroad back to the States or making sure they’re taking the necessary precautions to keep them safe, all while fighting to keep my own sanity. Trust, this week I will not be doing that. It was a lot. Luckily, I had several virtual happy hours with my friends that really cheered me up.
When I am down in the dumps there are a few things I commit to doing despite how I may be feeling inside. Two of them being meditation and repeating my daily affirmations. I can’t tell you how much incorporating meditation and daily affirmations changed my life. For today’s blog post, I’m going to talk about affirmations; what they are, how I use them and why you should consider adding them to your arsenal of personal wellness tools.
Affirmations are not something new that sprouted out of nowhere. In various cultures there are oral traditions, sayings, scriptures, writings, stories, songs etc. that are used to encourage and guide people through life. Affirmations are a specific set of phrases and statements that are supposed to help you combat self-deprecating and negative self-talk and thoughts, that we are all guilty of. It is absolutely too easy to say and think negative things about yourself, especially with the way the world is set-up. The messages that we absorb from mainstream culture, as well as the historical periods that reinforced race, class, gender and other social forms of discrimination, have ultimately left us with obscured images of ourselves. Affirmations are meant to challenge all that mess, because it surely is a mess.
Before I even knew that there was an American term for what I called positive thinking and speaking life into myself and the situations I found myself in, I was exposed to my Luo cultural fables, stories and proverbs though my mother. Just like any African or Black parent, she would use these proverbial expressions when I didn’t complete a chore, got bad grades, but specifically when I was sad or disappointed about something. In high school I started writing in my journals about how intelligent, beautiful and capable I was. I would either printout the words and phrases in big font or write them out on manilla paper and tape them on my closet door. Growing up as a taller, bigger, dark brown girl in an area where it wasn’t appreciated, you had to make sure to protect yourself the best you could.
The power of affirmations and why so many people stand by using them, is in the ability to change your perspective.
When I got my first job after college working at a call center on the non-profit side at a clinical research organization, processing applications for patients who could not afford medication for aggressive illnesses, I would take Post-It notes and tape them all over my computer with affirmations. The job was stressful because I had to reach daily metrics for processing applications and if we did not meet them, we would get reprimanded. I remember my favorite Post-It being, “Positive thinking, gets positive results”.
The power of affirmations and why so many people stand by using them, is in the ability to change your perspective. A lot of things in life are out of our control, but the few things we actually do have control over are how we treat, think and feel about ourselves. Changing your perspective from a lack and deficit mindset, to a positive and abundance mindset will literally shift the way you see the world. We’ve all heard the adage, “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?” and it is the same exact concept. People’s perceptions shape how they see and view the world. This doesn’t mean that you live in la-la land and avoid reality, but it does mean that regardless of the outcome of whatever situation, you are committing to see the lesson and the positive aspects in everything you encounter.
Life can absolutely suck sometimes, and we might be currently living in one of those very sucky moments, and finding sweetness when everything tastes sour is hard. However, if we don’t find the sweetness in life, then we run the risk of living a very unfulfilled and unhappy existence. The thing about affirmations is that you have to believe what you are saying or rather, you repeat it enough times until you believe it. It will take some time for you to get to a point whereby you actually believe what you are saying, but it feels so good when the words you repeat actually become powerful to you.
Here are some ways to start practicing and incorporating affirmations in your wellness routine and also some examples of affirmations I have used.
How to start using Affirmations:
- Take some self-inventory about how much negative talk you say to yourself throughout the day. Jot it down each time you catch yourself talking down on yourself. Do this for one day or a few days. At the end of each day, count up the number of times and begin to reflect on why you say those things to yourself.
- Write out and reflect on all the positive things that make you feel good about yourself and what you accomplished at the end of each day. This can be that you folded your laundry right away and didn’t wait to do it a week later, or you consistently drank more water throughout the week. Starting with these small things will help you see just how amazing you are. Not every accomplishment has to be big, but those smaller ones are some of the most important.
- Start formulating your affirmations with “I am…” and “I will…” statements, in areas of your life that you want to change for the better. This can be wanting to be a kinder person to yourself and others, or wanting to perform better at work or school.
- Place your affirmations where you have easy access to them and you can see them daily and you can pull them out whenever you want.
- Repeat them in the morning, during lunch, heading to work, before a meeting, during your workout, while washing dishes, before a date etc. Say them throughout the day, especially when you find yourself feeling low and thinking negatively.
- Be patient and be kind to yourself. Commit to saying and repeating your affirmations daily, weekly, and monthly.
Examples of Affirmations:
“I am where I am supposed to be and I am learning valuable lessons and skills.”
“My body is beautiful as it is and everyday I do little things that contribute to my total wellness.”
“I am enough and I deserve to be here.”
“Everything that is meant for me is mine and is coming towards me and everything that is not, was not meant to be.
“I am not the things of my past because I am ever-evolving and growing.”
“Challenges are temporary and are designed to make me stronger and wiser.”
“I am prepared to give the best of myself in everything I do.”
“I let go of all the thoughts, things, and people that cause me pain and I am whole as I am.