For an audio version of this blog post, please click below. Happy listening!
In the case that I’ve been a little assumptive in the title of this blog post, I should clarify that we’re here to talk about affirmations. To set the scene and put any skeptics in a chair of comfort, let me start with the background of the relationship that is me and affirmations. I was first introduced to the idea of affirmations in a business coaching session nearly five years ago now and instinctually put the practice straight into the ‘crazy lady’ box. To me it felt like a whole heap of hype that discounted the actual effort and sacrifice that is required in achieving a noteworthy goal. My basis was this; do these people actually think that just because they say they ‘are’ something or ‘have’ something that it will actually happen? Are they really buying into the idea that life is that easy and offers such entitlement? Despite this assumption and openly disagreeing with her thoughts I was particularly trusting of my mentor and took on the challenge to ‘just try it’.
A week or so on I would have my affirmations on my vision board which I saw as soon as I woke each morning and I started to experience the practice. There’s no golden ticket for predicting that these affirmations weren’t seeing results rolling into my life like the online clothing orders I was particularly talented at accumulating, however what I did find was that after only a few days of consciously saying these affirmations each morning, my focus, time management, and compromises were taking the form of thoughts and decisions that supported the goals reflected in this ritual. A movement of baby steps in the right direction. I was affirming how often each week I wanted to move my body, so if I decided not to get up and go to the gym that morning I knew that I would be going after work. When I sat at my sales desk knowing my target income for that year, the KPI’s for that week held a higher significance. And when my morning affirmation reminded me of which energy or personality traits I valued in myself, I began to embody these and drop the less attractive ones as they appeared throughout each day.
Now fast forward to today’s affirmations, it’s fair to say they’re extremely different to five years ago when I was a devoted rat race enthusiast and extremely out of touch with what was going to make me happy. What has remained true is that the same principles still apply. When I set my intentions for how I actively live my life in health, happiness, and relationships (and equally in reflection of what I require distance from) I am conscious in each moment that my mindset offers me a fork in the road. When I make decisions that determine my time and energy spend in the next day, week, month and so on, I know immediately if they align with these goals. I don’t commit to people or events that I later wish I had an excuse to avoid and in turn selfishly complain about to those around me. I have time for my passion projects and people that ‘light my fire’ and make me excited to be alive, who I can contribute to but who also offer me stimulation and growth – and that’s just one example!
If I’m completely honest, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I truly understood the importance around this practice of affirmations. I was listening to Melissa Ambrosini speak about her thoughts on the topic when she pointed out that it’s fine to think that affirmations are irrelevant nonsense, but that you should be aware that when you wake up and look in the mirror and don’t like the person you see, when you say to yourself that your ‘ugly’ or ‘overweight’ or ‘unworthy’ or even simply ‘incapable’, these are affirmations in themselves. You’re affirming that you are these things. How powerful is that!
One of the most integral ways I’ve grown through affirmations is to select an internal battle and affirm it with strength and positivity. Sometime last year I was really struggling with telling people when they were making me feel uncomfortable or overstepping my personal boundaries. It was causing me pretty extreme anxiety. To overcome this battle, one of my affirmations at the time was this;
“I speak up when something directly related to me isn’t right for me”
and this is exactly what started happening. At first it wasn’t with polished or overly sensitive language, as my goal was just to get my voice out there and my personal state back into harmony. After practicing this affirmation at that time and experiencing empowering personal growth as I did, this is now something I do with ease and very little thought or build up. I believe it is so important to protect our personal space and integrity.
Another way I have positively grown with affirmations has been in my movement or graded exercise therapy in recovery with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When I first started my afternoon walks I would be in a space of high anxiety, so concerned that the activity would put me in bed with a week long setback. I would walk about 500 meters with four rest breaks at a very slow pace. The absolute best technique I found for softening my anxiety was mentally noting all the positives that could and would come from my movement.
“I am reconditioning my body”
“I am safely learning my body’s limits”
“I am reclaiming my independence”
“I am energizing my mind and being amongst fresh surroundings”
I would go on until I could no longer think of any more positives, and then if need be I would repeat them over again.
My two favourite affirmations that I currently practice are these:
“I love, nourish, and heal my body with nutrient dense and strengthening foods”
“I am strong, courageous, adventurous, proactive and results driven”
Lastly, an important gem that I have taken away from my growth through affirmations is the great side lesson; when you take the time to be open minded and learn instead of being attached to your own view on a topic, in other words actually actively listen to what someone else has experienced and drop your assumptions, you open the door to otherwise lost opportunities. I’m happy to admit my wrongful assumptions on all counts here!