From time to time, I go through a period of life where I practice affirmations. I don’t claim to be any sort of expert—I just know affirmations help me in times of stress, transition, or growth. In times of depression, they’ve kept me going, kept me sane—nurturing little beacons scribbled on the page.
When I have nothing else to write, I use an affirmation I learned in junior high: “I am lovable and capable.” It’s a surprisingly powerful statement. Who has not felt unloved or incapable of the task at hand? I return to it again and again.
But I’ve found that the most effective statements are the ones I believe to be least true, the ones I rebel most against. “I am a good manager.” “I don’t have to be perfect to be loved.”
Once I’ve chosen my affirmations, I write them over and over in my journal. Sometimes I play games—I write them exactly 10 times, or I force myself to write them until the sentence ends at precisely the end of the ruled line. Eventually an affirmation fixes itself in my brain and stops appearing on the page.
As I’ve been writing my affirmations the past few days, I’ve felt my pen wanting to go another way, offering resistance, skipping words.
“I work only with those who value my time” turned into “I work only with those who value me.”
The command “Listen to your own voice” morphed into the statement “I listen to my own voice.”
The imperative “Do first things first” shifted to the claim “I do first things first.”
I realized it was more than just my time that needed to be valued. I realized that my affirmations had to be “I” statements for me to own them.
I realized that the struggle against the original words indicated growth. Evolution, not resistance.
I recently agreed to take on a writing challenge with some friends—May Manuscripts: 31 Days of Meeting the Muse. The plan: 1) produce something daily and 2) publish something daily.
Today I realized I needed a new affirmation:
“I am a writer.”