What are Affirmations?
Affirmations are often encouraged as a part of self-care/self-love, as they increase positive feelings, can improve one’s outlook and can encourage one to make positive changes in their life. An affirmation is a statement of emotional support or encouragement, and the act of stating or declaring it to be a truth. Affirmations can be any simple positive statement that enourages positive feelings: “I am beautiful.” “I am kind.” “I will let go of the pain of my past and let myself heal.” The focus of the affirmative statement is whatever change you are trying to encourage in your life.
Affirmations often work well, accompanied by meditation, if that is part of your spiritual wellness work. This allows you to examine the statement with a quiet mind, and observe what it means to you. It also allows you to observe, address and dismiss those negative thoughts that may be detractors. Perhaps you are trying to work on your self-confidence and self image. Your affirmation may be, “I am beautiful.” In meditation, you may decide to think on seeing yourself as beautiful, as glowing, as happy. Know that when you have negative thoughts… “I’m fat” “I have crow’s feet” “My hair is frizzy” … whatever your particular worry is, know that you can let it go, that it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your affirmation.
In addition to your daily meditation practice, you may choose to put something on your phone to remind you of your goal. Some people post a note on their mirror. Others put notes on their bedside table or in their lunches. Some people practice a daily mantra.
Putting Affirmations into Practice
We handle our phone many times a day. We answer calls, take messages, play games, check the time. You can pick a pretty wallpaper with your affirmation statement on it, to keep it simple. You could also choose a pretty poem that reminds you of your goal. I do this often for my lock screen. For the “I am beautiful” affirmation, perhaps you could choose something like Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelo (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48985/phenomenal-woman ). The goal of this isn’t to stop and read the poem every time you pull out your phone. Though, you may do that from time to time. However, when you do look at your phone – to check the time, to swipe the lock screen – some part, some phrase or part of your affirmation is likely to register, even if only in your subconscious mind to continue to encourage you.
The first poem that I personally chose was Invictus by William Ernest Henley (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51642/invictus ) . The purpose of this choice was two-fold. First, the poem spoke to a specific quality that I was trying to reclaim, and therefore related directly to my goal. Secondly, I had a specific, personal connection to this poem. When I was eighteen, I was in the Army, and was going through a difficult time. I was heading to the bathroom and walked past someone’s locker, and taped to the side, written on a piece of notebook paper was this poem. I don’t know how long it had been there, or who it had belonged to, but it spoke to me. I had forgotten about that memory until I came across the poem recently.
Your poem or affirmations may not start out with that type of connection. It may be something new to you that you find while doing a search. It may be something that speaks to you in a moment, like that poem originally did to me. The goal is to allow yourself to connect with it, and to connect with the feeling, goal or lesson in its words.
Affirmations as Life Lessons
I also combine these affirmations with other types of lessons that I need to work on. For example, when my stress levels recently increased due to a loved one’s illness, I changed my lock screen to a pretty picture with the reminder to, “Just Breathe”. In a funny story, a day or two later, I stopped by the gift shop at the hospital to get something else and saw a wooden sign in the window, carved with the phrase, “Just Breathe.” I took it as a sign (literally) and bought it for my office.
Another thing I have done to combine the lesson/affirmation theme involved the wallpaper on my home screen. I have an iPhone so I can set my lock screen and home screen as two separate images (I’ll have to ask my husband about his Android’s capabilities). I have been using the home screen for a chakra meditation that I change out weekly (usually on Sunday or Monday). I have a set of chakra lesson wallpapers that I have been using to work on my personal goals of balance and healing. There is no set time limit for each lesson (even though I said I try to change them from week to week). One lesson, I felt I needed for three weeks, and so it stayed until I was ready to move on.
The wallpaper is a color, a chakra symbol, a few keywords, and a “lesson” or summary. Again, it is something I can focus on if I choose, and need to be grounded in a moment. Mostly, it is a reminder in the background, something to trigger my subconscious. It is a message that I am constantly seeing, filtering, acknowledging.
What do you think of this use of our phones or ever-present objects as ways to improve our self-awareness? Do you do something similar already? Something else? Tell us about it!