This weekend I was reminded of the fact that many people speak negatively about themselves. I don’t think many people would dispute that negative self-talk is quite clearly destructive. The thoughts we have and the things we say about ourselves can cause damage. If we cultivate an environment where we constantly criticise ourselves, it is hard to thrive. I’d like to encourage you to take the first step in combating negative self-talk: noticing it. Try to catch yourself as you think negatively about yourself or say something unpleasant to yourself, or about yourself to others.
Once you start noticing, replace the negative thoughts with kind and compassionate words such as ‘well, I’m doing my best at the moment’ or ‘let me be patient with myself while I learn this’. It sounds contrite but just noticing and being kinder to yourself can make a difference. Hating yourself does not serve anyone so find something that is more constructive.
Personally I have struggled with affirmations. I feel a bit silly and I’m terrified someone overhears me and I hear guffaws in the background while I’m saying ‘I have a happy and slender body’. I have failed to implement them properly in the past but lately I’m getting it right. I have included an activity on my self-care roster to do affirmations daily. This is my reminder and if you need to use your calendar or a reminder on your phone, do so. If you can’t bring yourself to come up with positive thoughts about yourself, try some ready-made affirmations. It’s like a TV dinner for self-improvement.
The affirmations I use are from a few sources but in my view, the queen of affirmations must be Louise Hay. She spent years interviewing people and uncovered trends in terms of the ailments in the body and associated thoughts and emotions. If our thoughts are dominated by the negative, there is no question we will become sick, literally poisoned by our thoughts. I read her book You Can Heal Your Life and I earmarked all my ailments and their accompanying thoughts.
I typed out the affirmations aligned my ailments into a spreadsheet, with the ailment in brackets behind it. I colour coded them, printed them and stuck them on a piece of cardboard. Each day I read these affirmations out loud, focussing on ones that might be more pertinent. I do this even if I don’t believe them straight away. I have found that in time I have started to be kinder to myself. Part of the reason I became ill was inadequate self-care and I have been told many times that I’m too hard on myself. Affirmations are my method of approving of myself and of graciously accepting good things into my life.
Affirmations can be centred around many different aspects of your life, not only healing your body. They can address aspects such as abundance, relationships, career and spirituality. The mechanics are important however: always ask in the positive (exclude any terminology such as ‘not’, ‘don’t’, ‘should’) and say it as if you are welcoming it into your life. An example would be ‘I now accept a happy life with my dream job’.
I have noticed lately that many of the people I care about are sorting out problems in their lives. Things appear to really be falling into place. Whether it is prayer or affirmations or simply letting the Universe know what you want, it can’t do any harm to put it out there. I believe that as soon as we know what we want, we must ask for it regularly. Affirmations can be a way of doing that so if you need to think if it as a prayer, do so.
Many people dislike affirmations as it feels foolish or seems like brainwashing. I see it as a way to cement positive thinking about myself and to ready myself for accepting good things that come my way. It takes literally a minute or two of each day and it helps to program my thinking to be more positive about myself and my future. I’m willing to sacrifice two minutes daily in the interests of trying something that can improve my life. Are you?