“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
Robin has the daily responsibility of caring for a physically disabled husband, parenting a sixteen year old, and working a demanding job. When I met her at a retreat I facilitated, she was stressed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. She thought it was wrong to put herself first and routinely neglected her needs for rest, relaxation, and recreation. No matter how much she did, there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done. Putting herself last left her no time to enjoy her life. She felt guilty, overwhelmed, and depleted.
Circumstances contributed to Robin’s stress, but so did the way she thought about her situation. At the retreat she learned that if you can’t change your situation, you can always change the way you think about it. Using positive affirmations is one way to help change your outlook.
Three affirmations are especially effective. Each one serves a different purpose. I am doing nothing wrong – can help relieve you of undeserved guilt. I am enough – can help to boost your self-worth. I have all the time in the world – can help you calm down. Repeating these affirmations helps relieve the pressure you feel to do everything else before you do you. They serve as reminders to slow down and enjoy your life.
Our mind believes what we tell it. When you believe it’s wrong to make yourself a priority you feel guilty, so you don’t make time for yourself. When you tell yourself you haven’t done enough you feel lazy, and so you do too much. When you tell yourself you don’t have enough time, you become anxious and impatient, race around like a chicken with its head cut off, and then bite everyone else’s head off. Beliefs like these undermine your well – being.
The thoughts you think create the experiences you have. Positive affirmations work by changing your negative thoughts into positive beliefs. By using them you are nourishing your mind, body, and soul. Telling yourself something over and over again records it in your brain; then your mind and body believe it. Eventually you begin to think, and act, in a new way.
Using these affirmations helped Robin realize that she owed it to herself to make time for herself. She no longer feels obligated to get everything done and to take care of everyone else before she takes care of herself. Now she can sit down to enjoy a meal without multi-tasking, or attend a yoga class without feeling guilty. She has also made time for two of her favorite pleasures – writing poetry and reading. “Who I am right now is enough. I am no longer thinking of the ‘Who’ I should be or the ‘Who’ I might become in the future.” Her circumstances haven’t changed, her mind has. By changing her mind she has changed her life.
Affirmations are more than just words you repeat. There is a whole process of becoming aware of both your positive and negative thoughts, and then choosing to think and project happy positive thoughts. Positive affirmations work best when you dedicate yourself to using them all day, to consciously create the life experiences you desire.
• If you want to stop feeling guilty, inadequate, or impatient, begin by using one of these three affirmations: “I am doing nothing wrong,” “I am enough,” or, “I have all the time in the world.”
• If you prefer to create your own affirmation, think of the areas of your life you’d like to change: health, work, love, money, happiness, family, or success.
• Always state your affirmation in the present tense so your subconscious mind will hear it in the present, not the future: “I am” or “I have.”
• You don’t have to believe an affirmation for it to work. Just keep repeating it. Eventually you will get a result.
If your affirmations don’t seem to help right away, this doesn’t mean that they don’t work. We learned many of our negative beliefs as children and some we aren’t even aware of. These can take the most time to change. But if you really want to change you can! Don’t be discouraged. Be patient. And remember, you have all the time in the world.