Saturday, November 07, 2009
"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" -Stuart Smalley
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Three...
Who among us hasn't been told that doing daily affirmations could change their life? Am I the only one who thought my therapist was downright bananas when she suggested this to me? The thought of repeatedly telling myself something that I didn't believe to be true sounded ludicrous. I'm probably one of the most analytical people you'll ever meet, and there was no way I could wrap my head around this concept. I trusted my therapist. She had earned that trust. Everything she had ever suggested to me had at the least been a learning experience. But I literally laughed at her when she said, "Just try it. You'll see."
For the first week or so I would look in the mirror and tell myself, "You are beautiful. You are strong. You are worthy of love." Depending on my mood at the onset of the exercise, it would end with me either a)laughing at myself, b)crying, or c)rolling my eyes and walking away. But then something happened. It was a quiet happening, a welcome happening. Eventually I realized that I had stopped listening to the skeptic in me and started listening to my thoughts. I actually started to believe that what I was saying was true. These daily affirmations had started a process within me... a thinking process that took me from constantly criticizing myself to recognizing that if I could see beauty in others, if I could see strength in others, if I could find others worthy of love, then perhaps I just might be able to cut myself some slack. As ridiculous as it sounds, the affirmation exercise worked for me.
Today's task is to take Day One's list of ways the Sword of Trauma has affected me in my life and rewrite each item as an affirmation (or an "I can" statement). Ten years ago, I would have skipped this task, dismissing it as something for my wacky little therapist to suggest for someone else... not for me. Today, I embrace it. Actually, I can't wait to get it finished so I can print it out, tape it up on my mirror (yes, I'm actually going to do this) and read it every chance I get. Wanna try it for yourself? Feel free to borrow my affirmations if you can't come up with your own right now. Goodness knows most of us are in the same boat and many of us have been affected in the same ways, so these affirmations just might work for you too.
1) I can be brave. I can be courageous. I can be strong.
2) I understand healthy relationships and I can nurture the healthy relationships I have in my life.
3) I can be true to myself.
4) I can take care of myself.
5) My life has meaning. I have a place in this world.
6) I am not alone. I belong to a community of wonderfully supportive people who believe in me.
7) I can set healthy boundaries and I deserve to be respected.
8) I can take time to play and nurture the child within.
9) I can remember that my nightmares are not my reality.
10) I can relax.
Now, I'm not saying that practicing daily affirmations is going to be some thunder-and-lightning experience for everyone who decides to give it a shot. I'm just saying that personally, the experience opened me up to the possibility of accepting my strengths and weaknesses and moving forward with the belief that - here it comes - "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"