“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me.” – Stuart Smalley
When someone mentions affirmations, the first thing I think about is Al Franken’s emotionally fragile character Stuart Smalley, on Saturday Night Live. Although Franken’s character is hilarious, the stigma it helped perpetuate towards those who use affirmations, has not been very positive. Not because affirmations don’t work, but because people associate it with being – well….emotionally fragile. These days, with authors such as Louise Hay and many others, affirmations have made a comeback and you’ll find a section dedicated to the practice in many self-help books.
Affirmations are important, because what we say to ourselves/our self-talk, is indicative of the way we feel about ourselves.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many thoughts run through your mind on a daily basis? Would it surprise you if the number was ten thousand – or more?
A better question would be, what are the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself that pop up automatically? When you walk past a mirror do you say, “Ewwww, you’re so gross? Or,” I hate that?” Or do you refuse to even look at yourself? What about when you say or do something you think is stupid or wrong? What thoughts are rushing to your brain?
We can tell our core beliefs about ourselves pretty quickly when we monitor our thoughts. One of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes is, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And he’s 100% right. Affirmations are the perfect starting place for people who are on the journey toward radical self-love, who have developed harmful and untrue beliefs about themselves and their abilities.
An affirmation is an assertion that we make to ourselves that something is true. It’s a statement that we repeat to ourselves in the hopes that we will stop participating in negative thought patterns and instead create positive ones, much the same way a hypnotist uses suggestion to send a message to their patient’s subconscious mind.
For an affirmation to work effectively it has to be 1. Repeated frequently. 2. Be in the present tense. 3. Specific to your goal and positive.
The purpose of affirmations is to stop those seemingly automatic negative thoughts from appearing in our minds and to create new thoughts – new pathways that lead to new ways of thinking. As you continue to repeat these positive words your mind begins to absorb them – the more repetition we have, the stronger the neural pathway gets. The stronger and more frequently we use a positive thought, the stronger it becomes and because we are not using the contrasting negative pathway, it begins to diminish and when we stop using it, it begins to dismantle altogether and then those positive thoughts become our automatic response, instead of the negative ones we’ve been using in the past.
“It is impossible to really love yourself unless you have self-approval and self-acceptance.” -Louise Hay
The Mirror Technique
I have a friend that oozes confidence. Not feigned confidence, but real honest to God confidence. He oozes it so much that people notice, in a good way. It just sort of radiates out of him and people just sort of gravitate to him, both women and men. Sure he’s attractive enough; he’s always the life of the party, never lacking for company, always got a smile on his face and quick with a joke. His personality fills a room and he knows it. I often bounce thoughts and ideas off of him, because his attitude is always positive and to me he is the epitome of what a healthy self-esteem looks like. Even when things don’t go his way, which is rare, he never gets too down and a minute later he’s his happy old self again. So I asked him what his self-talk was like. He gave me a sideways glance and after I explained what it was, he said, “I always say good things to myself. When I come out of the shower and I pass the big mirror in my room, I do the Captain Morgan pose and I always say, look at you, you sexy son of a bitch.” I had to laugh, but I could really see him doing it. But it was proof positive that without even knowing it, my friend was doing mirror techniques that further strengthened his positive beliefs about himself.
Quite simply the mirror technique is getting in front of a mirror, a good mirror where you have a good close up view of your eyes and simply repeating positive versus to ourselves several times per day. For many it is very difficult to look at themselves, let alone say nice things. It may seem like a lie at first, but if you try and you keep trying, it will get easier and you will start to feel good about yourself. Consistent repetition is the key to creating and strengthening those neural pathways.
Affirmations by Louise Hay from You Can Heal Your Life
I move forward free from the past. I am safe. I am free.
I create only peace and harmony in myself and my environment. I deserve to feel good.
I lovingly forgive and release the past. I chose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myelf.
I create only joyful experiences in my loving world.
I now choose to create a life that is joyous and abundant. I am at ease
Life is eternal and filled with joy. I look forward to every moment.
I am one with all life. The Universe totally supports me. All is well.
I love and approve of myself. No person place or thing has any power over me. I am free.
The Relaxation Technique
The relaxation technique is simply getting yourself into a comfortable state of relaxation and listening to all the positive messages that are coming at us. Ideally we want to be in the Theta wave frequency, which is the state just before we fall asleep. As a hypnotist I favor this technique, because it is given when our subconscious mind is the most susceptible to positive suggestions. It’s easy and simple to do, with little effort. Affirmations just feel good. They put us in a good mood. They make us feel hopeful and optimistic. The one drawback is that for some reason people just don’t do it, they may feel silly, or think it won’t help, so I’ve recorded a very short video on affirmations, which is now up on Youtube, to make it easy for everyone, so get comfortable, relax and get ready to feel good.
In the infinity of life where I am
all is perfect, whole and complete.
I am one with the power that created me.
I am totally open and receptive to the abundant flow of prosperity
that the Universe offers.
All of my needs are met before I even ask.
I am divinely guided and protected,
and I make choices that are beneficial for me.
I rejoice in other’s successes because I know there is plenty for us all.
I am increasing my conscious awareness of abundance,
and this reflects in a constantly increasing income.
My good comes from everywhere and everyone.
All is well in my world.
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Thank you for this Sabanah. After break-up number 10 from my boomerang narc, I am finally practicing no-contact and slowly moving on. I have noticed for the first time, however, how negative my self-talk has become and realize how I need to seriously work on self-love. The surprising thing for me was to realize how negatively he affected my self esteem even though he didn’t verbally put me down. His lack of emotional availability and having ultimatly kept a year and a half relationship completely superficial helped me to feel so utterly not enough that my therapist counsels that I will probably need a year of no dating and just focusing on myself to get my self-love back. This affirmation blog and audio were just what I needed right now, and your posts have been belong me over the past several months get to where I know I have to walk away. Thank you!
We, who have suffered put-downs by narcissists for years, NEED to give ourselves affirmations. No apologies. I guess I’m getting closer to health in that I am finding it easier to do.
I could not agree more. Comedians make good fun of people who use affirmation, and I must admit I found them kind of corny at first. But as with so many other things, the pain of recovering from narcissistic abuse brought me to the point of humility and so I tried them again. And of course found them amazingly powerful.
The “mirror test” is an excellent starting point. I go to the gym every weekday at 5 AM, I am compulsive about it. As you might expect, I am therefore in fairly good shape. People notice sometimes and comment, which is nice. But when I pass by the mirror at the gym do you think I naturally and automatically affirm myself? Ha; no way. I zoom right in on what is not perfect about my body. I catch myself scowling or turning away sometimes. Unless I am paying attention, in which case, yes, I turn to the positive affirmations: look at you, it’s obvious you’ve been working out, way to keep that body strong, man you are looking GOOD, etc.
But here is the point: I have to make an effort to do this. I have to be conscious and intentional. Because if I am not I will default to that self-criticism. My natural internal monologue is not to affirm myself. My native language is negativity toward myself. My old pastor at church was a gem and she would say “I know what you mean, I listen to that radio station too — KFUK, beaming messages of ‘you suck’ 24/7.”
So as often as I can I repeat positive affirmations during the day. Here is a series of them I use often. I wish that they will help you as they have helped me:
I am valuable. I am important. I am special. I am perfectly strong. I am whole. I am complete.
As the shampoo bottle says: repeat as necessary!
@Cowboy — What you said here really resonated with me:
“My native language is negativity toward myself.”
As I have been trying to do the affirmations this week — which I honestly have never really tried before — I was taken aback by how HARD it felt for me to do. Looking at myself in the mirror and saying nice things to myself felt SO unnatural and like a lie. That is pretty messed up that my default, like yours, is to be mean and abusive myself.
My first language, mother tongue and native dialect being negative and hurtful toward myself.
Being confident and kind to myself is like an English speaker trying to learn a romance language late in life: The new (positive) language has a COMPLETELY different grammatical structure, syntax and way of thinking that is hard to wrap your head around. That’s kinda what this feels like.
But instead of learning a second language, I am trying to completely erase my “first language,” the brainwashing I received that led to this default setting of all this bad self talk.
I really think the good advice here, along with Savannah’s videos, are like a Rosetta Stone for learning how to speak this new, foreign language of self love.
I need to buy a new mirror!
Ha, just before I read your blog early this morning I had passed by the mirror, liked what I saw, and decided that my body is “perfect” the way it is, not with 10 pounds less fat that my ex always wanted me to have. Then I read your blog and it affirmed what I just said to myself. So I have gone about my day affirming myself. And just by affirming myself I realize that my confidence has been increasing, and I will affirm all those good things. At work over the past few weeks, I have found myself breaking out in laughter. I find clients complimenting me on my manner and work. I know that I am a great asset to the company and the clients. I am beginning to exude confidence also, and I am letting myself admit that. I am letting myself be proud of it. I am letting myself believe it. I am including it in my daily affirmation.
Several months ago, I clipped a saying, “And so, she decided to start living the live that she had imagined . . . .” It became the title to a 4-month chapter in my journal, but I still was not sure what this life was that I imagined, but now I know. It is that I am free to have confidence. Confidence is my “reserve capacity” that I never allowed myself to use. And, yes, damn, I’m a sexy bitch!
I burst out laughing reading about how your friend does his morning affirmation. Then that song “Sexy Bitch” from David Guetta and Akon popped in my head. This makes me want to dance in front of the mirror and chant “Damn! You’se a sexy bitch!” And I’m going to do it lol