Positive Affirmations: Do they really matter?
By Vanessa Lynn
What does picking up our crown really look like? How do we move from talking about self-love, self acceptance, rising above circumstances, grabbing a hold of our destinies and actually start to LIVE like we mean it? How do we get started?
We begin by becoming mindful of our words. The words that we speak mentally or verbally over ourselves. How we talk to ourselves carries extreme power. More power than I ever realized, until I decided to listen to how I spoke to myself inwardly and verbally. I was shocked! I was a bully. Truly, I was bullying myself and it was so often and I had been doing it for so long, I didn’t even know it. I could easily encourage a friend, speak kindly to others, see the positive side of almost any situation, yet when it came down to my personal self-talk, it was downright ugly. The thoughts and the words attacking me daily were really scary. And scarier yet, I had no idea. I was fully functioning, able to smile, feel joy, take care of my home, my children, feel successful at work, and all the while, this little bully was in my ear telling me awful things that I would NEVER speak over anyone else. Yet, here I was bullying myself daily, hourly… and all parts of myself were open to attack. The bully would taunt my strengths and weaknesses and deepest fears. The voice attacked my every decision, every move, and my good deeds and my not so good deeds, it mocked my successes and reveled in my failures as proof of how bad I was. I don’t even know when the bully showed up because after I realized it was there and became mindful of its presence, I realized I couldn’t remember a time of my life without it’s nasty voice whispering in my ear.
A bully by definition is: an unfair match, repeated, and causes harm to the victim. So I’m thinking about the name I have given to the nasty voice that used to cause me such havoc and it fits.
1. Unfair match -The voice came to me when I was young and unprepared to fight back. I had no knowledge that the thing even existed and you might not either. That sounds like a pretty unfair match to me. How do you fight back without first learning to recognize it’s there and then gathering up your weapons?
2. Repeated - A one time fight or wrestling is not considered bullying, but when the abuse is repeated and repeated, it fits the definition. And my bully stuck with me from early childhood until I was in my 30’s, so I would say it fits the definition of repeated. The assaults were daily, and on bad days, continuous.
3. Harm - The bully caused me to attack myself continually and then left me weakened, so that I accepted the abusive words and actions that others had for me too. I didn’t see what others were doing to me as wrong because I wasn’t properly seeing myself, honoring myself, or loving myself. I didn’t know my value. My true value that rested on just being me. I didn’t know yet that my value was separate from my performance.
So okay we got this bully. It speaks nasty, mean, self defeating words right into our ears, and the thing follows us everywhere we go, and is actively involved in every thought, decision, and actions just ready to judge us and speak it’s poison. What in the world do we do?
How do we fight back?
We have weapons. We do. We just don’t use them. Maybe, we don’t believe they will really work. Or we think the weapon is silly, or we are so defeated, we don’t feel strong enough to even lift up the weapon. We HAVE to fight. We HAVE to push past all of those excuses and truly claim our victory.
It begins in the mind. First, listen to your thoughts and your spoken words. Do you hear words of encouragement and love when you are listening to your thoughts? Do you cheer yourself on all day and talk to yourself just as loving as you do someone you love and admire? Or do you nitpick at yourself all throughout the day? Spend some time just trying to recognize if you have a bully whispering or sometimes even shouting a bunch of lies in your head. If so, listen to how ridiculous it sounds. It may say: “You’re really going to wear that? You spilled your coffee, what an idiot you are. You know you are really a mess. You are so disorganized. You really should have done _______.. You really shouldn’t have ________. I can’t believe you said_______.” Etc etc etc. Blah, blah, blah. It’s allllllllllll lies. All of it. The voice is a liar. But it won’t shrink until you get serious about going after it. So if you have one of these bullies driving you insane and now you have become mindful of it. Let’s begin to counteract the lies with truth.
2. Make a list of all you ARE. And this list can be hard to make because the bully will tell you that you can’t write that one. You’re not strong. You’re not beautiful. Etc. If you hear that while you are writing, it’s essential that you write that affirmation down. Write down everything you want to be. Write them as if you already are.
I am smart. I am funny. I am loving. I am lovable. I am worthy of love. I am honest. I am enough. I am beautiful. I deserve kindness from others. I am kind. I am a great mom.
Just keep writing and writing.
3. Then, you must begin to speak these I am statements every chance you get. Speak them aloud when you can, read them quietly when you are waiting in a line, or have a spare moment. Post them everywhere. On your phone, on your fridge, in your bathroom, on your desk. Everywhere. The bully is going to resist this step because speaking these truths makes the bully shrink and shrink and shrink.
You will be tempted to stop saying them. You may tell yourself it’s silly. It’s not helping. You don’t believe them anyway. You don’t need them. That’s when it’s even more important to push through and keep saying them. Add to them as you think of more. Begin to celebrate ALL that are ARE and tell the bully to shut up about all that you are not.
We women, have been hurt by life, by people, by circumstances, by choices, and even by ourselves. We have to begin the hard work of not allowing ourselves to be our biggest bully. If we can take this step forward, we will begin to view ourselves differently. Our bully shrinks and then whenever it tries to return, we speak truth. I am strong. I am brave. I am an amazing woman destined to do great things. I am a kind woman. I am beautiful.
If we believe in our worth and our value, and we speak words that carry life instead of death, then what follows naturally is we won’t allow anyone else’s words of death stick to us. The world’s lies and unrealistic expectations of us begin to lose their power when we know who we are and how amazing we are. We no longer believe what the media says about us. We no longer believe the mean things that others or even those closest say about us, instead we straighten our crown and walk with purpose and dignity.
I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough. I am thankful to share my story with you.
Connect with Vanessa Lynn on her website Braveblessedandbeautiful.com