How often have you heard people say “think positive”? Affirmations may sound a bit way out but they are simply about thinking positive. If it’s that easy, why aren’t we all doing it?
How we sabotage ourselves
We are masters at putting ourselves down. We have a continuous dialogue in our heads or out loud that may sound like the following…“I’m such an idiot”, “I’d buy those jeans if only I was thin…”, “My skin looks awful”, “Everyone understood that except me but I’m too scared to ask because I’m so stupid…” the list is endless but you get the gist.
This constant bombardment of negativity goes on hour by hour, day by day and so on. Now, imagine a scene in a Supermarket where you see a Mother berating her child in a similar fashion. Constant criticism. Wouldn’t you think she was an awful parent? You bet! But that’s what we do to ourselves all the time and then we wonder why we feel stuck in a rut and unable to loose weight, go for that promotion, ask that cute girl out on a date, finally attempt to fix that leaking faucet…why should we bother? We’re going to fail or mess up somehow so it becomes easier not to try.
We are creating our own reality
Let’s go back to that Mom in the Supermarket. If she tells her child often enough that he / she is useless, worthless, hopeless, then that is what the child will become. Let’s reverse that. Now, she’s praising her child, paying attention to what he / she needs, listening, validating and appreciating. Her child will grow up to be confident, comfortable in their own skin and ready to take on challenges and achieve their potential. Isn’t it time you did the same for yourself?
Where do I start?
First of all, get used to the idea of using affirmations. When you are so accustomed to subconsciously hearing a negative internal (or external) dialogue, it can make you feel very self conscious to even think about changing. Why? Because you are finally getting ready to take charge and take responsibility for your own self perception which will lead to a change in how others see you. That can be scary. Maybe you have become so used to how you are now that you are not altogether ready to make changes and push yourself forward. You might be thinking that this sounds crazy. Surely everyone wants to change for the better. You’d think…but let’s examine what that means.
Are you really ready to change?
Let’s say that you get ready, start using affirmations and gradually see a change. Because that is what is going to happen. You may have thought that you want to lose weight for a long time – but what are the consequences of that? You will undoubtedly attract more attention from others – are you able to deal with that? Is your spouse or significant other able to deal with it? If you finally get up enough confidence to go back to school, or get that haircut you’ve been dreaming of, or even just start wearing more make-up…all of these things will create further changes around you.
You probably think that we sound like real kill-joys. You haven’t even started yet and already we are throwing obstacles into your path. Actually, what we are doing is making you aware that you will be leaving a ‘comfort zone’ that you have been safely cocooned in – maybe for a long time. You need to be absolutely sure in your own mind that you want these positive changes. If you don’t do this at the beginning, any affirmations will become mere words and you will soon be self-sabotaging again to return to that safe, warm place…and that would be such a shame.
Ready and willing
Great! Now, you may or may not have been aware of your own subtle (or not so subtle!) put downs. The first step is to become very aware of them. They are not helping you and are a barrier to you progress, so they are the first things to go. If you don’t do this, you can say as many affirmations as you like but a little voice in the back of your mind will be replying ‘Yeah, right!’ and you’ll have an internal argument going on which will drive you nuts and have you racing backwards.
So, listen to what you say to yourself. Pay attention. Every time you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative about yourself – stop, and correct it. When you look in the mirror first thing in the morning and think ‘Yuk!’ stop right there. Take a good look at yourself, smile and say ‘good morning!’. If your internal voice criticizes your weight, stop and think, or say – ‘We’re not going to do that anymore’.
It sounds too simplistic…
It might do – but it works. The next thing to do is to find out which kind of affirmations will suit you best. People fall into natural groups – some respond best to visual stimuli, others to sound. You will know already which one you are in. Think back to a situation such as a wedding you went to. What do you remember? How beautiful the bride looked? How amazing the reception room looked? You would be a visual person. If your main memories are of the music and the words of the ceremony, you’re more likely to be primarily auditory and therefore will respond best to sound.
The Mirror – An exercise for ‘visual’ people
Choose a time when you are alone in the house and not likely to be disturbed for a while. Find a full length mirror and stand in front of it. This works best if you are in your underwear or not in any clothes at all – so make sure you are up to this and be brave! Start looking at yourself in the mirror and work your way from top to bottom or vice versa, thinking or saying as many good things about your body as you can. You may find that you feel very embarrassed and don’t even want to look to begin with but this is normal. Just try and stick with it. Before you start, you may think that you hate everything about your body but keep it simple. Look at your feet. They carry you around all day. That makes them good feet. Look at your hands. Think of the hundreds of ways they help you every day. Good hands.
The more you do this, the easier it will become and the more you will like yourself and the nagging voice in your head will start to change.
How to make this an ‘auditory’ exercise
Simply repeat the exercise above but make sure that you speak your thoughts out loud. This will help to impress them upon your brain and emphasise the message.
How else can I do this?
If you’re not happy with this idea, try writing things down. Start with a simple list of ten things that you would like to change about yourself. Make yourself read it out loud to help to re-enforce it. Put a date on the page and then put it somewhere safe and set a reminder in your diary, on your cell phone or on your pc to go and check that paper in a weeks time. During that week, you carry on with ‘catching’ your negative thoughts and turning them right around to positives. When you check your page a week later, you might be surprised at how you feel when you read what you wrote…
Need more help?
Go to Amazon.com and put Affirmations into the search box. You will be shown hundreds of books and audio cd’s to choose from. Stick with it and watch your life change. You’ll wish you’d done this years ago. Don’t waste any more time or energy on allowing negativity to hold you back. You deserve better! Good luck!