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As a person who has a hard time hyping myself up, I find most affirmations to be laughable. From the extreme positivity to the unrealistic manifestations of who I could be, the negative thoughts just seem to be more digestible. But just because something’s easier to chew doesn’t mean you should eat it. My negative thoughts come in all forms and fashions including negative self-talk, self-deprecating jokes, and one-upping the negative feedback I receive in life. It makes me wonder that if those negative words and thoughts can hold so much power as to affect my self-esteem and sabotage my decision making, then shouldn’t positive thoughts hold just as much strength? Once I made this realization and started questioning my own negative thinking patterns I began seeing that it is truly a choice. We all have a choice when it comes to allowing thoughts to remain positive or negative. The thoughts come up organically but we choose what we take from or make of it. Choosing the positive can allow you to live a more purpose-driven life and see the joy where most don’t. Whereas choosing to see the negative usually leads to self-sabotage and affects esteem. I’m still working on this skill.i It definitely takes practice and training to shift your mind but I can personally attest to how rewarding it can feel when your mind doesn’t automatically select the negative. Not to mention the speed with which I am able to move myself from a negative headspace to a more positive one so that I can work with an opportunity rather than get wrapped up in a problem. It was hard for me to believe that blind positivity begets itself but that’s just it – when they’re realistic and honest, they do actually work. I didn’t want to believe the hype but I can’t argue with the results. So, if you’re looking for affirmations, consider writing your own so that they can actually serve you. Check out the following list for ideas on how to get started!
Start by picking a trait or area of your life you want to work on or improve. Are there thinking patterns you are working to change? A circumstance you want to improve? Or feelings/experiences you want to enjoy? Try to choose something that you are genuinely interested in improving that way you’ll be truly motivated to achieve it. Personally, I struggle with patience. So I try to create affirmations that celebrate me being successful in my goal of being more patient. For example, I know I am patient. Consider trying the following: I am working towards a goal that is important to me. Affirmations work as a way to keep you grounded and working towards your goals daily, so choose something meaningful to you.
Affirmations need to be believable in order to be powerful. If you don’t believe it when you say it, what’s the point? It’s not magic, it’s manifesting. Try starting with softer phrases such as: I am willing to…; I can…; I choose to… How you feel about the affirmation you’re going to be repeating is more important than the words you say. For me, an affirmation like I am amazing feels like a stretch. I appreciate a softer approach like I am enough. It should be powerful enough to make you feel strong and uplifted without leaving you rolling your eyes. However, if you encounter an uncomfortable affirmation it might be worth exploring, even if that means specifying or softening the tone.
Another way to get started would be to substitute a negative thought with an affirmation. For me, the negative self-talk comes so naturally that this is an easy way for me to compose new affirmations to start with. In the age of social media, I find that I am constantly comparing myself to others, worried that I am behind or at a loss compared to where my peers are in life. To flip a thought like this, I could say I compare myself only to my highest self or I have no right to compare myself to anyone because I don’t know their whole story. In flipping these thoughts we flood our minds with positivity, making it harder for them to start with a negative. It takes retraining our neural pathways, but over time we will accept that positivity organically and with much less effort.
It’s important to write affirmations as if they are already happening. This may not always be true especially if you’re just getting started in affirmations, but it’s important that you rewrite them in the present tense so that you are training your brain to be open to these situations in your life. Speaking it, believing it, and hearing it back rewires how your brain sees and reacts to the situations or circumstances you are affirming. Instead of I don’t want to be alone, try I take pleasure in my own solitude or I feel the love of those who are not physically near me. Writing presently can help you feel focused and grounded, especially when confronted by these situations in life.
Speak your affirmation aloud and as if it’s a fact. As someone who often mutters to themself, speaking with confidence and eye contact with myself in a mirror felt…weird. At least it did the first few times. As I got more comfortable with my affirmations, saw the evidence of the effort towards my goals, and began to truly believe in the words, it got easier to say them with gusto. I started by thinking about myself as a good friend I was trying to hype up. I’d start my day with affirmations since it puts me in a positive headspace for the day and tell that friend the things they needed for that day, they already had within them. It might help to start by closing your eyes, taking some deep breaths, then work toward reciting your affirmations with your eyes open down the line. The more specific and realistic your affirmations are the easier this step will be, but again don’t be afraid to try something uncomfortable as well.
Affirmations serve as a way to trick your mind into believing you are already the best version of yourself. The more you believe this in your conscious mind, the more progress you will make toward becoming that version of yourself. Affirmations are a way to change your thinking, but you still have to choose to change the behavior by taking actionable steps. You exercise your body to improve your physique, so why not exercise your brain to improve your outlook? Affirmations should remind you of your core values and positively encourage you to reach your goals. They’re truly a starting point so that you can reflect on your behavior in a situation and make a change to the behavior. Keep in mind that positive thinking isn’t all-powerful, and affirmations won’t work for everyone. Give them a try and see for yourself. The below starter affirmations are a great way to begin!
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