If we could tape our inner voice for even one hour, many of us would realize how often we criticize ourselves and fill our minds with negativity. Whether our criticisms are valid or not, they tend to diminish our self-esteem even more than the criticisms of others. We can always choose to ignore our other critics by walking away or hanging up the phone. But we live with our inner voice 24-7. Daily affirmations can help us to retrain our inner voices to be kinder and more encouraging.
A person with low self-esteem compares himself with those he feels are superior, and has feelings of powerlessness. This is a learned behavior. A lifetime of criticism by parents, teachers, friends, and others can be very deflating to one’s ego. We tend to replay those negative tapes in our minds over and over. A person must learn how to be his own best friend, someone who is accepting, encouraging, and believing in his potential. Often, however, we are our own worst enemies and critics, inflicting more wounds on our egos than any others can do.
A daily affirmation involves finding some positive inspirational phrase that can be repeated over and over to boost one’s confidence and hopefulness. Through repetition, that positive voice becomes louder than the negative one. It’s a seed we plant in our brains that grows and grows as we repeat it day after day.
One of my favorite inspirational affirmations is: “I can do all things through God who strengthens me.” Other affirmations could be: “Every day I am getting better and better” or “I succeed when I try.” Every person must pick his or her own phrase.
It should be a statement of accomplishment
Before starting, one must also feel deserving. Often, people self-sabotage because subconsciously they don’t feel they deserve good things to come their way. They may get some sort of psychological payment for suffering. Or they may also be afraid of achieving because of some fear of increased responsibility. We have all heard the phrase about to whom much is given, much is expected. Some people may be waiting for someone to rescue them. Feeling undeserving, fearing increased responsibility, and waiting for others to solve our problems are belief traps and behaviors that diminish our personal power to effect change.
Daily affirmations to address these negative thought patterns could be: “The world is abundant. We will all be blessed.” Or, “I use my resources and power to fulfill all that is expected of me.” “I handle my own problems successfully.”
Fear usually involves some negative association with a certain type of situation. Our minds irrationally conclude that if we failed at something before, we will fail again. If this was an unpleasant experience before, anything remotely like it will also be unpleasant. We think that embarrassment will kill us or be unbearable. Daily affirmations can help us overcome these self-limiting thoughts. “Day by day I am more and more competent.” “I am in control of my reaction to any situation.” “This is a rewarding experience.”
Daily affirmations improve self-esteem by creating a proactive mindset. Just as we can be deflated by sharp criticism, we can be empowered by compliments and recognition. In our daily affirmations, we recognize our accomplishments instead of focusing on our failures. “I have overcome other problems. I am overcoming this one, too.”
Every day we should compliment ourselves on something. Why do we delay praise for ourselves waiting until that day when we are perfect human beings? Just as we should take stock of our blessings every day, we should also take time to give ourselves a pat on the back.
So much of what we do day after day goes without recognition that it can sometimes be discouraging waiting to be noticed. Daily affirmations should include a look-at-me, I did a great job. Find intrinsic joy in doing something well. It doesn’t matter if someone else recognizes it as long as you do.
Daily affirmations will change as new situations arise. The affirmation will be like the blankie you had as an infant that made you feel secure in all situations. Over time, you won’t need it anymore. But, at the beginning of the journey to find your own personal power, your affirmations will give you confidence and retrain your inner voices to be realistic and encouraging.
Write Affirmations Down
Write your affirmation on some 3×5 note cards and place them where you can reach for them when your self-esteem lags. When you wake up, read the card, close your eyes, repeat the mantra again, and visualize a positive outcome or your ideal self. Whenever your inner voice tries to undermine your new mindset, stop for a moment and repeat this exercise. This will reduce your stress and bolster your confidence. Keep doing this until this kind of mental self-correcting becomes automatic.
What is self-esteem, but a healthy acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses? A person with low self-esteem has an irrational feeling of powerlessness. An egotist feels superior to everyone and has an irrational feeling of superpower. Someone with a healthy ego realizes that we are all a work in progress and that problems and difficulties are just part of life for everyone. Confidence is a belief in possibilities. Those beliefs begin as a seed in our minds and grow when we nourish them with careful tending.
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