About 4 years ago, I sat in a yoga teacher training while the instructor talked about creating an affirmation statement for your life. At the time, I resisted. I was going through a rough time and had uncertainty and fear spinning all around me. I wasn’t convinced that a flowery yoga phrase would help. But, for the sake of participation, I complied and wrote this:
I am embracing the opportunities and adventures life and God have for me with courage, gratitude and love.
Fast-forward 2 years later…while rummaging through my training manuals, this small piece of paper falls out with my affirmation. Now, I’d love to tell you that I was mindfully focused on it every day for the past two years and wonderful things ensued. Wonderful things have ensued but I wasn’t mindfully affirming them, necessarily. But, there is power in writing something down. Even though I wasn’t focused on these words every day, they were there in the back of my mind, my intentions and God was weaving a beautiful quilt of opportunities, failures and surprises that I could’ve never imagined.
So a few thoughts on affirmations…at least what others say and what I’ve found:
- Affirmations should be written in the present tense, not the past or future…but right now. -Ing verbs are even better as they imply continuity and flow.
- You want your affirmation to not be so specific that it won’t last through the years, but it’s also ok to have different affirmations for different situations in your life or life stages. You might have several that serve you in different ways.
- They should be aspirational…they should nudge you (in a good way) toward what you’re wanting in your life, how you’d like to be.
- Write your affirmation down and place somewhere that you’ll see it frequently. Mine is taped up in my office so that it’s in my peripheral vision while I type.
- Affirmations should be positive. They should not include a “not” or “never”… they should encourage and inspire us.
- A practical exercise is to take a slow inhale and as you exhale think your affirmation in your mind. It will begin to come off the paper and be a part of you.
Back to my affirmation, I think I’m going to stick with mine – unchanged after four years and maybe even more applicable today than back then. Sometimes I just try to conjure up the short version: Courage, Gratitude & Love. It’s been a great day if I’ve expressed these three things in some small (or big) way.
New adventures are just around the corner for us (more in future posts) and maybe it’s because I’m nearly 40, but I am embracing them without old fears or my negative self-talk tapes. I’m grateful for each opportunity and challenge, filled up with love. Excited. More soon.