I started writing affirmations in 2015 during my outpatient therapy program for eating disorder recovery. My self-esteem and body image were, as you can imagine, at an all-time low, and I had never heard of affirmations, let alone saying something nice about myself outloud.
I grew up in a society that taught me to be humble, to hate my body, and never brag about what an amazing person I was. That would just be self-serving and arrogant.
But how could thinking, “I’m disgusting” and “I’m such a worthless piece of shit” make me a productive part of society? How could looking in the mirror and saying, “no wonder you’re such a failure” allow me to function as a friend, coworker, or lover?
Was it possible society had it all wrong, and rather than encouraging young adults to hate themselves so they worked harder, they should be encouraging us to love ourselves so we contribute better?
I didn’t know it back in 2015, but writing affirmations would change my life.
My therapist had me start writing affirmations as a way to improve my body image. She invited me to start with small statements about my appearance, like “I love my skin” or “I have pretty hair.” She knew my physical body was what I believed to be the biggest problem, so we started on affirming parts of my body I already liked.
Slowly, we added in affirmations about who I was as a person. “I have a loving heart.” “I am a good friend.” I was to write these on post-its and stick them all around my house. Say them to myself out loud in the mirror. Write them like little love doodles on the corners of my notebook.
They started to sink in.
Soon, the positive affirmations started to combat the negative thoughts. And I started to feel more than comfortable in my skin: I believed I was an important part of my community. That I had something to offer society. That I mattered.
Today, I have been in recovery for 5 years, and I am swimming in self-love in great part because of my affirmation practice. I am a better partner because I take care of and love myself. I am a more thoughtful and considerate friend because I believe in my skills as a listener and empath. I work smarter, not harder, because know I deserve breaks to recharge.
I want to share with you my affirmation practice, because it has evolved dramatically from those first few months in treatment. I want to teach you how to go from writing simple, generalized affirmations to powerful, uniquely-yours affirmations.
First, let’s take a quick moment to talk about what affirmations are and how to write them:
Affirmations are positive statements about yourself. They are statements about your personality, worth, physicality, and more. Affirmations can be statements that you believe to be true, or beliefs about yourself that you are working on solidifying.
For example, if I am working on my confidence in social situations, an affirmation that reads, “I am confident in social situations,” might not feel genuine to me. But an affirmation that reads, “I am working on my confidence in social situations,” will feel true, and still positively affirm something about me: I am working towards a goal that is important to me.
When writing affirmations, I invite you to keep the following in mind:
Affirm qualities about yourself, rather than possessions or accolades. (i.e. “I have a really cool bicycle” is not an affirmation that will help you build self-worth/esteem. It might make your bike feel really good, which is nice, but affirmations are meant to raise your self-worth, not your bicycle’s.)
How to Write Unique Affirmations:
These days, I write 4–6 new affirmations every morning, designed to raise my vibrations specifically for that day.
Each morning, I open my journal and start a morning ritual. I light a candle, pour a hot cup of coffee, and create a sacred space and time devoted to myself. In my journaling process, I practice mindfulness, gratitude, and affirmations.
I find doing my affirmations in conjunction with my other morning journaling amplifies the other aspects of my journaling and helps me get focused before writing unique and powerful affirmations.
I write 4–6 affirmations, all surrounding one topic or category.
This allows me to do a few things: 1. Really hone in on a specific purpose for my affirmations; 2. Create multiple unique affirmations around one topic; and 3. Amplify the intensity of an affirmation around one overarching theme.
To make my affirmations super unique, I add fun and playful adjectives to spice up the statement I have made. This may seem silly, but adding adjectives to your affirmations can add color, life, and depth to your affirmations.
Tip: try playing with words like “juicy,” “delicious,” “wicked,” and “delightful.”
Here are some of the categories I choose from each morning, along with a brief description and example:
Make 6 affirmations about your personality: Try to affirm qualities about your personality that you believe to be true, positive, or are working on believing.
Example: I have an uncanny knack for seeing people for who they really are.
Skills and Talents
Make 6 affirmations about your skills or talents: Try to affirm talents or skills you might not have so much confidence in to really solidify and increase your confidence around them.
Example: I am wickedly talented at baking mouthwatering cookies from scratch.
What Makes You Likable
Make 6 affirmations about what makes you likable: If you struggle, think about what someone who loves you might say.
Example: I am likable because I give others my unwavering attention when they share important parts of their lives with me.
What You Attract
Make 6 affirmations about positive experiences, material items, or relationships you attract.
Example: I attract juicy abundance into my life in all shapes, forms, and sizes on a daily basis.
When Do You Shine
Write 6 affirmations about times you really shine!
Example: I really shine when I am on stage performing and sharing my delicious passion and energy with an audience!
What You Have Power Of
Write 6 affirmations about what you have power of, when you are powerful, or why you have power.
Example: I have unimaginable power to take ideas and turn them into reality.
Now imagine writing 6 affirmations total within one of those categories.
Your brain will be forced to get creative and find new affirmations around a single topic, which inevitably leads to incredibly unique, powerful, and dare I say juicy affirmations.
The repetition of one topic through different language will also solidify the message into your heart. Trust me, it’s powerful.
Reminders When Making Affirmations:
Begin with “I.”
When writing your affirmations, try to begin with “I” as much as possible. Affirmations that begin with “I am,” “I have,” or “I am working towards” infuse the subsequent statement with self-reflection and inward direction. That’s the point of affirmations. It’s about you. So if you begin the affirmation with “Other people say I am,” or “It’s good when I,” you deflect the energy outside of yourself and affirm something that, while probably true, doesn’t attach your sense of worth to the affirmation.
Try affirming something you’re working towards believing.
Affirmations are one of the most powerful ways to create real beliefs about yourself you never imagined you could believe. By starting affirmations with, “I am working on,” or “I will one day believe that,” you are affirming something true, and you are opening the door for you to believe something you one day hope to feel about yourself.
Say the Affirmation Out loud.
The best way to seal the deal with affirmations is to verbalize them. Stand in front of a mirror and say them to your own face. Say them out loud in the car on the way to work. Whisper it to yourself as you curl up into bed. Whatever floats your boat. Just try it.
If you can’t think of an affirmation, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s ok. These are hard sometimes. Chances are, if you are struggling, it’s a topic or area you really need affirmations for. The affirmations we find the easiest to make usually relate to areas in our life we already feel confident. If you’re struggling, ask yourself what someone who loves you might suggest you write, and try that.
I hope you found these prompts helpful in writing unique affirmations! If you have questions or comments about writing unique affirmations, please comment below.
XO — Rachel
originally published at https://www.copeholic.com/blog/how-to-write-unique-affirmations