I always heard that with anything you want to learn in life, repetition is key. I’ve also always heard that the best way to feel good about yourself is to either say it to yourself out loud or write it down somewhere. Naturally, you’d think that repeatedly saying words of affirmation or writing it in a journal will make you believe it, right?
Let’s Talk About It
I used to think that words of affirmation were the key to Narnia and that all you had to do was say it enough times to start believing it. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’ll show you through this example. Let’s say that every day for the next 6 months I say aloud, “I am a zebra.” Crazy, I know, but just go with it for a second. If I don’t truly believe deep down that I am indeed a zebra, then they’re just empty words that have no meaning or value to them.
Let’s use that same scenario but this time I say, “I am beautiful” for the next 6 months. Saying it and believing it are two completely different things, so I can’t expect to believe what I’m saying aloud unless I truly believe it deep down. Does that make sense?
How Do We Make Ourselves Believe?
My therapist asked me this, but I really didn’t know. I’ve struggled with believing the words of affirmation I came up with for as long as I can remember, so I had no clue where to start. Her answer was to look for evidence and relish in the moments when it is true.
Same scenario — if I don’t believe that I’m beautiful, I have to look for proof that I am. I can find my favorite selfie and make it my screensaver on my phone so that I’m looking at the proof every day. If I have an event to go to, I can wear that outfit hanging in my closet that makes me feel and look incredible. It’s important to put yourselves in situations and create more opportunities to feel beautiful if you have a hard time believing that about yourself. Even if you have no trouble feeling beautiful but instead struggle with something else, the answer remains the same. Find proof, and you’ll slowly but surely start to believe it.
So, to answer my own question, words of affirmation can be BS, but there’s a way to ensure that we’re being true to ourselves rather than just saying nice things in the mirror for the sake of it or writing positive statements on sticky notes just because. Put yourself in situations where you believe the very thing you struggle with believing about yourself. It’s such an interesting concept — simple, yet doable.
This year, as we continue this journey of growth and self-discovery, let’s be intentional and let our words and even our actions have true meaning behind them.
“We are what our thoughts have made us, so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” — Swami Vivekananda