"Embrace the glorious mess that you are." - Elizabeth Gilbert
Part of my morning routine includes writing affirmations in my journal. I have read a lot about affirmations, and it is a concept that is nowadays mentioned too many times, just like gratitude or meditation. While I believe in all these concepts, sometimes we don`t hear about the "messy work" that is behind this when you, esp. for the first time, approach gratitude, meditation ,or affirmations.
Sometimes you do just feel low and negative, that it can be very hard to either find good things or genuinely feel gratitude (it is being implied that you HAVE TO feel deep and sincere gratitude for its magic to work). Sometimes your mind is just racing and emotions are boiling up, that five minutes of silence can be quite overwhelming and difficult to bear (it is being implied that EVERY second of meditation can already help). Sometimes when reciting affirmations, you feel like lying to yourself even if you try hard to believe these new positive perceptions about yourself (it is being implied that affirmations are THE WAY to let go of our limiting beliefs).
Today, I would like to explore the myths around affirmations with you. Here are my 3 take-aways for you to make your affirmations really game-changing and supportive in your life:
1. Choose ones that first resonate with you
I once did a coaching online programme, that provided a workbook with a list of 100 positive affirmations that you could choose from and introduce into your life. Being a real newbie in the personal development world, I found this list quite helpful given that it was, unfortunately, uncommon for me to think in such positive terms about myself and my life. So having a list helps expand our perceptions that have been limited by our negative beliefs. If we are esp. so convinced that our relationships always fall apart and bring frictions, it may be hard for to us immediately adopt the belief "I always bring love and peace into my relationships".
Having a long list with many phrases that sound beautiful and wishful, it is also key to take out the pressure and just choose those that resonate with and speak to you instantly, without thinking too much about it. Not choosing "I always bring love and peace into my relationships", while adopting "I am loved for who I am" instead, does not mean that the opposite would hold true (i.e. that you would bring destruction and hatred into your relationships). As you may recall my mantra, we can just take life step by step. So choose, for example, your Top 3 affirmations that you would like to focus on and then, step by step, you can extend your list or replace them with new ones.
2. If you decided to work on a particular area (such as your body relationship), start where you are.
What do I mean by this? I am currently focussed on improving my relationship with my body to a more loving, nourishing, and supportive one. One that appreciates, ackowledges, and takes care of my body. So I chose one simple affirmation, "I love my body". While I could connect to this vision, I could tell that it soon turned out dull to repeat this every morning. Moreover, whenever I saw my body in the mirror, I, unfortunately, still judged my body for how it looked and what it had more or less of. I know that this may be a negative habit, but also that this is more about my deeper relationship I have with my body. So reciting some positive affirmations after neglecting, judging, and sometimes even hating my body won`t really do it.
It remains important to establish a new neural pathway, so whenever you see your body you won`t automatically judge out of rehearsed habit, but with more compassion (not in a sense that you are now worshipping your body from one day to the next, but more in a sense that you are compassionate with your current negative thoughts). Start where you are means taking baby steps (again :)) and choose those affirmations that you can believe in. So now instead pushing me towards "I love my body", I now chose "I appreciate my body".
3. Connect your affirmations with rituals, embodiment, or dedicated time.
Having chosen our affirmations that truly resonate with us and sound plausible, we can strengthen our affirmations so they are not only hollow words. In my example with my body, I connect my new belief, "I appreciate my body", with a ritual to touch my body when I wake up and to feel gentle care when I do my skin care or take a shower. Whenever I catch myself in judging my belly, breasts, or skin, it has helped me to shift by appreciating my body. which does not depend on how it looks. Sometimes I also add extra self-care time as a result of feeling negative after my judgments to nourish myself and act from a more loving position.
My coach has also opened up my perspectives by asking, when I judge, does this come from me or actually from thinking what others would say? This is when I realized I have judged my bodily parts esp. from men`s or society`s perspectives, and I decided that voices other than mine (and I already have an Inner Critic) don`t have space and permission to live in my mind. Of course, this may take time, so again I take out the pressure by reminding me that I take baby steps.
Related to the relationship with my body, in particular, I am also currently learning to adopt the Buddhist`s view of impermanence and non-attachment. While our body is interconnected with us and is a holy vehicle allowing us to experience life, we are not our body and our body does not define our worth. Just as our mind and soul evolve, our body changes, too. I want to learn to accept that constant change because we live in a world that is highly fixated on youth and external beauty (while I sense a tiny shift to authentic beauty). Women esp. seem to be often subject to scrutiny and limited by their physical appearances. So my current exploraton of the body is a big topic, but I am looking forward to learning and shaping a culture that appreciates our bodies and ourselves more.
Do you have favorite affirmations? Let me know by sending an email to email@example.com – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
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