It’s All in Your Head: The Power Behind Personal Affirmations

My kids had me watching “SNL” outtakes the other night. While Bill Hader’s “Stefan,” Kenan Thompson’s “Don King,” and  Leslie Jones’ “Whoopie Goldberg” skits had me cracking up, there’s still no comparison to the SNL of old. Eddie Murphy’s “Mr. Robinson,”  Dana Carvey’s “The Church Lady,” and Jane Curtains’s “Weekend Update.” There’s really none better.  

I pulled up the SNL skits I remembered to prove this point to my kids and before long I had them cracking up and agreeing with me. One of my favorites is Al Franken’s Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley. What a lovable goofball of a character Stuart is!

While hearing Stuart say those syrupy lines “that’s just stinkin’ thinking,” “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me,” and “you’re should-ing all over yourself” can make me roll my eyes and cringe just a bit, as a life coach, I agree with him 100%!

Manage Your Mind

Listen up! You don’t have to believe everything you think! Your mind can lie to you. Those not-so-pleasant things we believe about ourselves…well…they gotta go!  The way we think about our body, our intelligence, our ‘cool-ness” factor, our skills, our worthiness, our imperfections, if they’re negative, then they don’t belong inside of your head!

For a good chunk of my 20s, 30s, and 40s, my confidence and belief in myself was at an all-time low.

I had almost no inner “compass” or direction. I didn’t value myself at all. I was always (desperately) looking outside myself for acceptance and validation (not to mention looking enviously at all the “good stuff” others seemed to have). I was stuck. I was confused. I was directionless. I was lost. I was a mess, and boy,  did I have an abundance of negative self-talk and negative beliefs running through my head all. the. time!

I began using affirmations to get me out of my low self-esteem funk. They worked! I’m not the same person I was back then! Over time, the affirmations completely changed my behaviors and negative thought patterns

We’ve got a running dialogue going on inside our heads all day long. Some of that dialogue is helpful and some of it holds us back from being who we really are. Hearing I can’t, I’m afraid, I’m weak, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m a  mess statements in our head is counterproductive! 

Our thoughts and beliefs affect our perception of reality.  We begin to buy into what we think is true about ourselves and then we live it out!  Our thoughts create our experiences and can pave the way for our future decisions. It’s important for you and me to manage our minds and stop those intrusive negative thoughts from taking root.  In other words, we gotta make our minds mind!  

What Are Positive Affirmations Anyway?

Simply put positive affirmations are positive statements that we tell ourselves to program our subconscious and change our current reality. It’s flipping negatives into positives. It’s learning to pivot from negative thoughts and lies. In other words, it’s challenging our negative and unhelpful thoughts by speaking life building words to ourselves.

If we‘re not careful about what we allow into our minds (the thoughts we believe about ourselves) we’ll begin living out who we think we are. 

I love this Mahatma Ghandi quote: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” 

Beliefs→thoughts→words→actions→habits→values→destiny

Science Says So!

Stuart Smalley was right when he told us to “stop our “stinkin’ thinkin.'” And we should! For all you science lovers out there, speaking words of affirmation is a little scientific. It’s a form of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt to changes in an individual’s environment by forming new neural connections over time. This includes over time changing the way we think about things! Small changes in habit, repeated frequently enough, can lead to changes in how we think, feel, relate to people and, ultimately choose to live our lives. 

Speaking positive words over ourselves can feel a little woo-woo and even uncomfortable. But they work. By repeating affirmations, we trigger small shifts in our thinking that translates into positive self-talk and better decision-making. 

Examples of Positive Affirmations

Here are some affirmations I’ve personally used. Take these only as examples and remember that each person is unique, so the words suited for me may not be suited for you. 

  • I am worthy and worth being loved. 
  • I’m not perfect and I learn from my mistakes. 
  • I’m significant and needed.
  • I’m a work of art and a work in progress.
  • I love my body and accept it just the way it is. 
  • I believe in myself and trust my own wisdom. 
  • I am confident and capable. 
  • I am resilient, strong, and brave. 
  • I may not be fearless, but I will fear less.
  • I will not take anything personally and choose to rise above any hurtful thing that may come my way.
  • I am not afraid to keep going because I believe in myself.
  • Things will get better. This is just one moment in time. 
  • I am on a journey. I’m always growing and always developing as a person.

How to Make Affirmations Work For You

First off, it’s important for you to know that empty meaningless words won’t fix bad habits and limiting beliefs.  Any affirmation without truth will just be superficial fluff. 

There are a few key things to keep in mind when using affirmations.

  1. Keep it Real. Make your affirmation personal to you. Think of a mindset or old belief that is holding you back. Declare that negative thought. Come to grips with it being a lie. Now write it down by turning it into a positive and empowering truth about yourself. Use the words “I AM” in your affirmation to make it personal and more meaningful.
  2. Don’t Copy T-Shirts! Avoid the kitchy cutesy things you see on the t-shirts and Pinterest boards. Get creative! For example: make “today is going to be a good day” even better by turning it into “today is going to be a great day because I’m alive and bring value to the world“.
  3. Give it a Little Punch. Make your affirmations strong and domineering — not wishy and whiney. You are in the driver’s seat. You are in control. Say the words like you mean them!
  4. Visualize. One way to completely engage and believe in what you’re saying is to visualize and sense every detail of the truth you want to embrace. Picture your day being great because when you walk into a room you bring value to those around you (by your smile and by just being). 
  5. Day In and Day Out. Create a habit of speaking affirming words to yourself daily multiple times a day. Repeat the words. As you say them, believe them to be true. Be patient. Thoughts won’t change overnight. It may take some time before you notice any changes. Stick with them. They work. 

I recently created some beautiful Affirmation Cards that I’d like to share with you. If you want to make some positive changes in your life you can start with my cards and then create your own! Do you want to motivate yourself to change, boost your self-esteem, increase your confidence, improve your relationships, have an optimistic mindset, and release fear, worry, and anxiety from your life? Then these cards will help! Pick up your FREE copy here.

Friends, life is too short to believe lies about yourself. Let go of the “should haves,” the “should bes,” and the need to prove your worth and just be yourself (it’s easier that way). But before you can do this you have to start with believing in yourself. Affirmations are a tool to help you on the road to becoming the REAL YOU.

Do you have your own affirmations you’d like to share? How did you come up with them? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

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