There was a time when I felt absolutely horrible about myself. I had come out of a really, really, dark place in my life, and wanted to start feeling better, but I didn't know how or where to start. Then one day, I had just moved and was unpacking boxes and came upon a book I had bought years before but never read. It was called, You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. Amongst the mess of boxes, I just sat and devoured it. WOW! What a book! Why had I not read it until then? I guess I just wasn't ready to accept what it said. And at that point when I was unpacking and starting a new life, I finally was.
Louise Hay's key message was, "If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed." It was the first time I understood what an affirmation was and what it could do for me.
Basically, an affirmation is encouragement and emotional support you give yourself. Well that seems simple enough. But is it? We live in a society where we are told that we are not thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, happy enough, etc. And that's just from TV, movies, and advertisement. Then throw into the mixture the people we encounter, like parents, siblings, friends, schoolmates, and workmates. And, if we ever do get compliments, instead of just saying thank you, we are taught an incorrect way of being humble, and downplay ourselves. Get the picture? Before we know it, we are telling ourselves that we are an unhappy, fat, stupid, ugly person. And that type of attitude will make you sick. Mentally and physically. Especially if it has gone on for years.
The back section of the book has a whole host of affirmations that you say to yourself everyday. I would write them out on sticky notes and stick them to my bathroom mirror, so that it would remind me on a daily basis to say them aloud. Yes, aloud. Your ears need to hear the message. It's like a double whammy. You mentally read it and then it becomes reaffirmed when your ears hear it.
It was exactly what I needed at the time, and my heart was finally willing to receive it. Little by little I started to believe in myself again.
Here are a few of the affirmations from the book.
I allow myself to be free. The past is over. I am at peace.
I willingly release the past. It is safe for me to let go. I am free now.
I use my power wisely. I am strong. I feel safe. All is well.
I love and approve of myself. I create my own joy.
I have the power and strength and knowledge to handle everything in my life.
It is safe to be who I am.
Now, I use affirmations in my daily meditation. I start with a mantra for the first five minutes to help me gain focus, then I switch over to affirmations. I have recorded five minutes of affirmation--that include reminders for breathing and good posture--in my own voice and then play it in a loop for about twenty minutes to the sounds of singing birds by a water stream. When I hear the affirmation, I repeat it aloud.
Here is an example of a morning affirmation meditation.
I highly recommend recording your own affirmations with your own voice. I can't stress enough how beneficial it is for you to hear yourself and then repeat it. Yes, with anything new, it feels weird. But try it everyday for a week and see for yourself how much better you feel.
Please read more from psychologist, Dr. MS Broudy, about why affirmations are beneficial and how they can assist in alleviating depression and inspire change.
In addition to the above, here are some some more great links on the benefits of affirmations.