By Alyssa Martin
Has anyone ever said to you, “You’re worrying too much.” or “You think too much.” Maybe you even said it to yourself. I definitely have. Your next thought might’ve been, “Ok, so what am I supposed to think about?”
That question is an important moment. This marks the moment you decide you are open to change and ready to empower yourself with healthy, supportive thoughts. This is the power of affirmations.
Now that you’ve decided to improve your thoughts let’s take a moment to understand how thoughts affect us. It’s most helpful to me to think of thoughts in two categories: Fearful thoughts and Loving thoughts.
When we think fearful thoughts, we feel scared, anxious, and worried. Thinking these thoughts on repeat can lead to us feeling defeated, hopeless, and depressed. On the flip side, when we think loving thoughts, we feel peaceful, calm, grateful, and hopeful. Repeat these types over and over and we feel inspired, motivated, joyful, and generally supported by life.
So what do we do when we are plagued by fearful thoughts such as:
- I really messed up this time. Now everything’s just getting worse.
- Why ask for what I really want? I’ll just get ignored or rejected again anyway.
- They’re not really interested in me. They feel sorry for me.
- I’m too emotional. Why am I such a basket case?
- Here comes the anxiety again. Oh god, why can’t I just be normal?
This is where the power of affirmations comes in. An affirmation in the dictionary definition that we’re using here is “emotional support or encouragement.” An affirmation is a happy, forward-moving thought when we can’t think of one on our own. Practicing affirmations is a way to start you off thinking love-based thoughts. And it is a practice. Eventually, though, you will get to a certain point where you’ll be able to tap into that loving space and think positive thoughts on your own.
In the beginning, though, we need a little help. If you’re like me, when I started this journey, I could be encouraging to others but not to myself. I wondered, “What does a positive thought sound like? What are the words?” It was like asking myself to come up with lyrics to an instrumental song right there on the spot.
Just like learning the lyrics to your new favorite song, it has to be practiced over and over. At first, you need the lyric sheet, but then you get the chorus, and you’re off and singing the easiest part first. Later, you start to fill in the harder parts to remember like the verses. Eventually, you know every word to the song by heart and probably can sing the lead guitar riffs too. (You know who you are!)
My advice… Practice, practice, practice. Then, rinse and repeat! Find the words that give you a LEVEL-UP in consciousness and then practice every single day so that you can imprint your mind with a new thought.
Here are some encouraging affirmations:
- I know I can do better, and next time I will! I learned so much from this experience.
- I have the courage to ask for what I want. I can only control myself. If they ignore me, I have the strength to ask more firmly. If my request is denied, I will re-evaluate at that time.
- I will take people at their word. If they show an interest in me, I know I have the choice to take the risk or not. I will follow my intuition, not the fears in my mind.
- I notice when I am feeling emotional on a consistent basis, and I take care of myself by investigating how I can feel better.
- Anxiety is a normal reaction to a fearful thought. I take the time to identify my thought and address my fears.
I take participants in my workshops and lessons by choosing and/or writing their own custom affirmations so that the fears they are experiencing are addressed. An important part of my work is making sure I do not minimize anyone’s challenges or bypass inner work that may be required. For example, if someone is feeling low self-esteem, telling them to repeat, “I am confident and self-secure in all situations.” can be a start. However, the opposite of the affirmation, “I have no confidence, and I’m not secure ever.” may not be the thought they’re having. They could have a fear of authority figures, body dysmorphia, or other complex emotions that need to be addressed as well.
My favorite way to use an affirmation:
- Find the words that are soothing to you
- Sit in that place of being soothed for a moment. Really feel the essence of the words. Imagine them pouring over you like a healing elixir soaking all through you to soothe and calm you.
Above all, use your intuition to guide you in choosing your affirmations and how you’d like to practice using them. Your intuition is how you feel… and it’s a powerful decision-maker for you!