" My ability to conquer any challenges ahead is limitless, I am strong and I have the knowledge to succeed." My affirmation this morning, one that I felt to my core, that I could look at my experiences and confirm that this was true. By repeating it to myself this morning, it helps me to keep my vision for myself and my day, and the way I am looking at the challenges I am facing this week. It gives me strength, promotes my productivity, and calms my body from anxiety. It replaces negative thoughts from my subconscious and works on changing my mindset so that I can be more focused and change behaviors that are harmful to myself or others, or change the way I look at a situation or react.(Maybe today I will not cry in front of strangers....yep sure happened yesterday! Right in the grocery store...geez that teller was kind as he offered me a tissue haha!) Our mind is made up of the subconscious and conscious-patterns we have learned, behaviors, attitudes, that usually come from childhood and experiences. I used to think affirmations were just a hokey pokey thing that were useless if I am being truthful-but I am finding the power of affirmations in changing the way I look at situations, and therefore, how I react. Like yesterday, I still fall into victim mode at times, but my ability to pull myself out of it quicker is a skill that changing the mindset can only do.
I grew up with the understanding and belief that I was not good enough, I was not lovable, and I would not succeed in life. These beliefs came from trauma and abuse as a child, from unhealthy relationships and abusive relationships as an adult that told me always I was not good enough and would never succeed in life. It filled me with feelings of negative self worth, actually pure self hate, fueled my alcoholism, and prevented me from making the strides and reaching milestones a part of myself always wanted. My thoughts became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I could start something, like entering the field of social work, going to university, frig even parenting. But my limiting beliefs that were learned though repetition of negative thought patterns would eventually tell me there was no point and I did not deserve much more than suffering and pain, and my mindset was so full of these negative thoughts and beliefs about myself and the world around me that relapses became a constant in my life. I internalized all the negative experiences in my life and used those to propel me forward-but in SURVIVAL not in living and loving others and myself.
One of the tools I have been using is mindfulness and affirmations to try and change my thought patterns in order to reprogram my subconscious so that I could empower myself to heal and grow, and honestly to just get through some days, or at times, get through a withdrawal or suicidal thoughts. Truth.
Your thoughts determine how you go about your everyday, how you react to situations, and rules our actions and behaviors. But you are NOT my thoughts-thoughts can be changed, or rather, your interpretation of the thoughts can be changed. Your attitudes can be changed. But in order to do that, its about changing mindset. Using affirmations that you can truly believe in, not just mindless affirmations such as " I am rich and famous" (unless you are, then congrats to you!), can help in reshaping our subconscious and changing behaviors and attitudes which do nothing for you.
The way you think can and usually will influence the way you handle situations: confrontations, issues at work, a traffic jam when your late, your child misbehaving, and so on. Along with affirmations, meditation can help with recognizing the thoughts and feelings while not reacting-by making you aware of how situations make you feel, and what actions it makes you instinctively want to take. I will say this again- YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS AND THEY CAN BE CHANGED. How you choose to react is your responsibility.
Say your partner pisses you off, and you grew up in a violent or dysfunctional home-your first THOUGHT which results in reaction or action due to the FEELINGS connected to your partner making you angry may be to lash out and be verbally abusive, punch a wall, or act in another way that is destructive or abusive. But, say your taking time to affirm to yourself that you are not violent, and you can handle stressful conflicts without anger, repeat this over and over, and it will slowly start to reprogram your brain in how you react by unlearning that conflict is a threat to your safety.
Obviously in situations where mental health and trauma are involved, combining affirmations and changing your mindset is just one part of the healing that would need to take place to embrace change-therapy, reading, self care-its about finding the tools that work for you and having a solid support system. Notice positive changes you are making-and AFFIRM these to yourself without overlooking them. They say the best time to practice affirmations is in mornings or evenings when you have the silence and time before your day or at the end of your day when you can truly focus and focus with full intent on the affirmation. Don't just half heartedly say your affirmations-believe them, and look at ways you can confirm them throughout your day.
Remember that at first it may feel uncomfortable, and in the beginning your full belief in that affirmation may not be there, but repeat, repeat, repeat. And use confirmations from your life to make them more believable to yourself so that you can say them with your whole heart.