When we think of self-care, we often think about what we can be doing externally to alleviate issues. However, self-care is just as much about internal processes.
It doesn’t cost a penny to do any of this, either.
This Self-Care Sunday, we explore the idea of affirmations. For some, it may sound like new age gobbledygook, and that’s okay… not everyone has success with affirmations. It’s hard to look in the mirror and recite positive phrases that don’t feel real. In the beginning, it made me feel like an SNL sketch.
I get it. Looking at yourself and speaking out loud to your innermost self — not just talking aloud to narrate what you are doing and keep your thoughts in order like “Wallet, keys, lunch, purse…” as you are going out the door — may feel a little cheesy. The key to reducing that is to be truly authentic with our intentions. Someone with an eating disorder can’t just say “I love my body” ten times in the mirror and wish away their compulsive restrictive or binge behaviors, nor can a cutter or anyone who is experiencing more than just an occasional bad day.
Sometimes things truly suck and we have to be real about life. “Today I fill myself with joy” or “I am love, I am light,” may not be the best mantra when you are mid-heartbreak and full of darkness. While it may provide initial comfort, it doesn’t stay with you. Perhaps something like “I am strong. My heart will heal. This feeling will pass” or “I am open to love but only if it is open to me” if you are avoiding commitment-phobes or breaking the habit of chasing people that don’t show you respect.
Not every form of self-care involves money. Sometimes it just takes awareness and a few minutes each day to remind yourself of what you need from life and what your role is in making it happen.
Here are 7 Realistic Affirmations for Well-Being.
1. “I work diligently to make peace, love, and compassion my way of life.”
This is a great affirmation because it acknowledges that this is a process. The person behind the affirmation is putting in the work to shift their world and make peace, love and compassion the way of their life. Start your day with this positive mantra to focus our intentions.
2. “Today I release my attachment to the transitory circumstances and appearances.”
Another Buddhist affirmation, this mantra is the equivalent of “what will be will be.” We release our attachment to situations which are not lasting and to superficial appearance. This is a great affirmation for folks who are waiting on others and really do not have much control over those choices made.
3. “Failure offers feedback.”
A mantra for perfectionists and bootstrappers out there for whom failure has not been an option, failure indeed offers feedback. I speak with writers all of the time who are just starting to reach outward to find homes for their essays or to find a publisher for their first novel. The one thing that is holding them back? Fear of rejection and taking that feeling of rejection as a failure. Don’t let your fear of failure become a guarantee of failure — without trying, there can be no success.
4. “I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.”
As someone who has experienced multiple severe traumas and lives with Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), I can say that this mantra is a blessing. Having suffered at the hands of multiple abusers, it is easy to blame oneself for the violence experienced… I know that I have. This affirmation allows you to forgive — not for them, but for yourself — and remove their influence from your life. While it may not be as simple as that, it is a start and has helped me.
5. “Today I start making healthier decisions for my life. Today I stop making excuses for my actions.”
I am the queen of excuses. I was the daughter of a man with an explosive temper, so I am quick to say I am sorry and just as quick to offer a reason that dampens the anger and shifts less of the blame onto me in order to quell the maelstrom of violently-loud shouts and insults. While this is not how I want to remember my father, these behaviors have stayed with me throughout my life as a result of protecting myself to the best of my abilities. Taking on this mantra has helped me own the results of my actions and the real impetus behind my behaviors, as well as make better choices in the first place.
6. “I will stop apologizing for merely existing as a woman.”
(Insert any other non-cis-male identity… sorry guys, this isn’t for you.)
How many times have you said “sorry” when you meant “excuse me” or simply wanted to be heard? Don’t apologize for doing the same things that cis-men constantly get away with. Stop littering your emails with emoticons to temper the blow of a direct (and completely emotionally neutral) request because you are worried about being perceived as a bitch. Stop apologizing for existing and stop apologizing for advocating for your needs.
7. “I am present. I am open. I am aware.”
We spend so much of our life closed off to what other people and the world around us have to give, especially those of us who are survivors of intense traumas. In order to continue to live and receive the love and experiences which are out there, we most remain present (not trapped in our past) and aware of that which is around us.