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I recently came across an article on ABC News about a school in California that implemented mindful practice in their everyday school life. By hanging up positive statement banners instead of mirrors in the restroom of their school, one girl wanted to draw attention to the way we think about ourselves. She wanted to spread positivity through mindfulness which inspired me to write this post. I absolutely love her idea!
I often catch myself in the habit of thinking really badly about myself. Whether it is by taking a quick glance in the mirror and thinking: “Boy, your hair looks horrible today!”, or while putting on a new shirt in the dressing room of a store and realizing: “Wow, you are way too tall for this world. Your body shape is absolutely unflattering.”. It may also be phrases that just pop up in my mind at random times like “Nobody love me.”, “I will never be able to be in a happy relationship.”, “I am ugly”.
(For more tips on stopping such negative self-talk, check out my other post How to Overcome Self-doubt: 10 Tips on Dealing with Your Inner Critic)
In today’s world, a lot of us are taught to not think of ourselves in a kind manner. A lot of the things we say or think about ourselves are negative. And some of those thinking habits might work well for us (they keep us from doing anything that could get us in danger, or to protect us). But here’s the thing: Most of the thought patterns we have about us, are limiting and keep us from living our full potential. They prevent us from being the best versions of ourselves.
I do belief that most of the reasons why we think of us in such a way are not really our own fault. I mean, every one of us gets raised according to values of generations that came before us. Our parents never meant to teach us to think bad about ourselves. They wanted to guide us to the best of their abilities and their knowledge, which I am very thankful for.
Society and the media (advertisement, fashion industry, food chains), they all kind of make us feel horrible about ourselves if you don’t fit into the standards. I had a lot of trouble with being a tall girl as long as I can think. I always felt so self-conscious and insecure about my height, until I realized, wait a minute: You are exactly right the way you are! You are perfectly fine being you! Those pants are too short for you? Well, that is NOT about you not being pretty enough.
The lesson I learned is: You are what you think. Your thoughts become things.
By putting us down and engaging in negative self-talk we are keeping ourselves from living up to our full potential. Although often enough external influences trigger that negativity in us, we are still responsible for the way we treat and think about ourselves. It is up to us to take our own happiness in our own hands. Which is why this matter is close to my heart.
What are Affirmations?
Affirmations are commonly perceived as a form or practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment. It is a method to improve your quality of life by confirming something as true and validating it. Even the origin of the word, the Latin word “affirmare” basically means “to strengthen”. Affirmations are essentially everything you say or think about yourself, the world, or other people. Their effectiveness lies in that they state a fact as being the current reality. They are written in the present tense, have a positive choice of words, are personal, and specific. It is more effective to just keep it simple and focus on one thing at a time.
Why are Positive Affirmations important?
Practicing mindfulness with ourselves resets our thinking into positive patterns that have the potential to change our lives. They literally strengthen neural connections in our brains. The chemicals in our brain (e.g. different kinds of neurotransmitters) are affected by our thinking. If we think negative thoughts the nerve cells in our brain wire themselves accordingly. If we think happy thoughts different neurons are responsible to make us feel good. By choosing to think of ourselves in a positive way, we can rewire our neurons to make more permanent connections (Our brain’s neuroplasticity, that means our brain’s ability to change and newly form itself throughout a certain time-span, comes in handy).
Affirmations eliminate the constant negative self-talk. At the same time they create new patterns and structures of thinking that give us different, and better – more happier – experiences.
One of my favourite authors, Louise Hay, describes it perfectly. She says, ‘Affirmations are like seeds planted in soil. Poor soil, poor growth. Rich soil, abundant growth.” Which means that it is important that we pay attention to what and how we think.
We have to create the space for affirmations to work. If you say a positive statement just once, but think ten negative thoughts right after, then the chances are that the negative thinking patterns will have more weight in your life. Of course, changing overnight might seem like an overwhelming task. But starting small by becoming aware of the thoughts you have, and moving forward step by step will lead you to more self-love, self-worth, confidence, success, fulfilling relationships, everything you want your life to be like. It sounds like a magic spell right out of a fairytale, I know, but I promise you, it really works. I experienced it myself.
The key to its success is repetition.
The more often you repeat affirmations, the faster you will notice a change. When I started to use positive affirmations, I liked to either write them down in a little notebook (every statement 3-5 times). I also liked to take a seat in front of the mirror, choose two to three affirmations and then say them to myself. I would say each 3 times and look myself in the eyes while doing it. And then after some time I liked to make a sort of ritual out of it by lighting a candle (to create an atmosphere that suited the self-care process that I wanted to indulge in).
The more time passed, the more often I noticed how much my mindset changed. I was a lot kinder to myself. I used encouraging words before I had to get into a situation that made me nervous or created stress. And slowly, but steadily the way I approached life changed towards more positivity. And now affirmations are such an ingrained part of my life that I often don’t even have to think actively about it anymore. It became a habit.
Everyone can create their own positive affirmation statements. If you remember to word it pretending it is your personal reality, as if the thing you want is already true, then I promise you, it’ll work out just fine.
To help you get started, I collected 59 positive affirmations that you can practice daily:
For more Self-Love:
- I am beautiful. I celebrate being attractive everyday.
- I am worthy of being loved. Love is all around me.
- I am a smart and intelligent person, who can handle difficulties with ease.
- I am safe and secure. All is well in my world. I choose to do the best I can for myself every day and in every situation.
- I am happy with myself. I am proud of the person I have become.
- I know my self-worth. I am good enough just as I am.
- I trust my instincts. I am willing to listen to my inner friend. I know what is good for me and I act accordingly.
- I love myself unconditionally. I am comfortable loving myself whole-heartedly.
- I forgive myself. I can look at myself kindly and with an open heart.
- I love my body. My body is perfect as it is right now. I embrace every part of my body.
- I am thankful for the love I have in my life. I am in harmony with myself.
- I am the source of my happiness and love.
- I allow myself to live life the way I deem right.
- I am at one with myself. I am content with my company/business.
For Healthy Relationships:
- I am open-hearted and kind. I am open for deep connections with other people.
- I am able to draw boundaries when needed.
- I can communicate my feelings and needs clearly and respectfully.
- My relationship is improving every day.
- I am able to be my true self around my partner and people close to me.
- I love and cherish my partner with an open heart.
- I am worthy of a happy and healthy loving relationship.
- I enjoy being in my relationship.
- I am always myself, wherever I am. And I am comfortable with my personality.
- My relationship makes me feel safe and loved.
- I allow myself to approach love and relationships without fear and I open the door to in-depth intimacy.
- I am available for new experiences and I confidently show my feelings without feeling ashamed of them.
- I am a confident person. I can achieve all my goals.
- I have a successful business that grows and flourishes with every passing day.
- I believe in my abilities and skills.
- I deserve to be successful and appreciate all the good life has to offer me.
- I love the work I do. I am surrounded by supporting people and I enjoy pursuing new paths to success.
- I live up to my full potential. Everyday is filled with new inspiration and motivation.
- I am grateful for my financial success.
- I am open to new possibilities. I recognize and embrace opportunities when they knock on my door.
- I am confident to take on new challenges.
- I am surrounded by success. Everywhere I look I see prosperity.
- I lovingly create the life I want to live.
- My income is constantly increasing.
- Every day I am thankful for my healthy body. I enjoy to consume healthy and nutritious food.
- I choose to live as healthy as I can and do only what is best for my body.
- My mind and body are in harmonious balance.
- My immune system is strong and protects my body. It keeps me perfectly healthy. I choose to do everything in my power to support my immune system.
- I am strong, healthy, and full of energy.
- Every cell of my body is full of vitality.
- Every organ in my body functions exactly the way it is supposed to.
- I make healthy choices and respect the work my body does to keep me in perfect health.
- My body is healthier every single day.
- My body has its own wisdom. It has extraordinary healing powers.
- I let go of all pain and hurt. I decide now to look at my past, present, and future with a loving heart.
- I am willing to forgive myself so that I can forgive others more easily.
- I am grateful for all that life has given me. Every experience is a powerful lesson that ultimately serves a good purpose to help me grow into my full potential.
- I choose forgiveness over anger and hatred.
- I choose to release all resentment and welcome new beginnings into my life.
- I forgive past mistakes. I accept and respect others as they are.
- The past is the past. It has no power over me anymore. Today I live the present, so I can create a good future for myself.
- I am compassionate and understanding. I am a forgiving and gentle person that can see past anger and resentment.
- I am able to heal from past hurts. I am worthy of compassion and kindness.
- I did the best I could at the time to the best of my abilities and knowledge.
- Where there is anger there is always pain underneath.
I usually pick just two to three that I would like to incorporate in my day-to-day activities. And of course I also tend to forget now and then that I wanted to practice. Helpful tips to remember to repeat them as often as you can are:
+ putting a sticky note on the mirror or the door or the car, somewhere where you cannot pass without seeing it.
+ Or maybe set an alarm on your phone that shows your affirmation, have it displaying on your phone as a background or computer.
And here’s the challenge: the affirmations we approach with the most resistance are usually the ones that are part of the issues at the very center of our insecurities.
However, you don’t have to tackle the mountain at the beginning. Just start climbing it at your own speed with what you are comfortable with.
Implementing positive affirmations into my everyday life has definitely changed the way I look at myself. I would almost dare to say that positive thinking is the most integral part to making me a happier and more compassionate person. One of my favourite authors on that topic is Louise Hay. I can highly and wholeheartedly recommend reading one or two of her books! Through her work, I got started on my very own path of practicing positive thinking. These books will change your life, no joking!
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