Can I make a confession? I used to dislike self-affirmations. Don't get me wrong, I still posted them on my bathroom mirror, doodled them in my journals like a middle school girl & shared them on social media like they were going out of style. However, when I read them or tried to "channel" the positive message, it would backfire!
Self Affirmation: "I am happy & fulfilled."
Brain: Hmm… pretty sure you cried in your car twice this week.
Self Affirmation: "My good health & energy are rewards for the nourishing foods I eat."
Brain: Sure… I wonder how many nutrients were in that bottle of Pinot & the entire bag of Chex-mix last night.
Ughhhh! Anytime I wanted to bring something good into my life, my brain self-sabotaged my positivity. This made me focus even more on what I lacked or how I had messed up. The truth is our brains are STUBBORN & don't like being told what to think or believe. Instead of looking to see if the statement was accurate or valuable, it would just take the affirmation & almost immediately shut it down. That is until I learned these helpful tips on how to use affirmations the right way!
- Sadly, not every affirmation is going to work for you. For an affirmation to be helpful, you personally need to find it truthful, believable, or at the very least convincing. This will be frustrating at first (like my story above.) You can't magically transform yourself into something that your subconscious thinks you're not. BUT DON'T GIVE UP!! Keep trying different affirmations until you find one you can really stand behind.
- The wording is very important! Self-affirmations are like little personal pep talks. They should have an "I" or "My." They should stay positive. No "don't", "won't, "am not", "can't", "doesn't", or "I'm stopping." Especially if you are new to affirmations; Negativity will just cause you to focus on what NOT to do vs. what you should be doing. Also, try using present tense words. It's impossible to change the past & the future is uncertain. Focusing on the present moment brings control back to you.
- Be mindful. Just like meditation, it brings you into the present moment & helps to quiet your mind to focus on your self-affirmations. If you don't already, I highly recommend devoting a few minutes a day to being mindful. But that's a whole other blog post for another day!
- Try rephrasing the affirmation if insecurity has you doubting. If the statement "I am enough" secretly makes you cringe, change it to "In this moment for this particular task, I am enough." It's okay to give yourself grace! One day you may be able to scream "I am enough" from a mountain top & believe it in your bones. However, self affirmations start small like building blocks affirming what you ALREADY know you are to help you build a solid foundation of believing & trusting in yourself.
- If rephrasing still isn't working, try changing it to a question. This takes more time, reflection, & a heck of a lot more inner work, but it is worth it! Change "I am strong & resilient" to "why am I strong & resilient?" or "when was a time that I was strong & resilient?" Chances are you will think of a past choice or experience to re-enforce the affirmation. It will give you the confidence to believe that YES! That is who I AM & I can claim this affirmation over myself!
- Lastly, but most importantly, BE GRATEFUL & stay focused on what you already have. Putting phrases like "I want," I need," or "I desire" into an affirmation steals the focus from what is already inside you & redirects it to that which isn't yours. This will most likely will lead you to bitterness & further from where you want to be.
I once heard a quote that said, "when you focus on the good, the good gets better." That is precisely what self-affirmations do! They reinforce your values, truths, & the goodness that is already inside you! Then in some weirdly, wonderful twist of psychology, loving & knowing precisely who you are leads to a type of positive change that the shame & negative self-talk never could. Kinda cool if you ask me!
In the next blog post I’ll share how I pair affirmations with oils and gemstones to really make those affirmations stick!
So what are you affirming today? Share your affirmation in the comments below!