Affirmations: Good For The Soul

I am assuming that the majority of you has heard of and knows what an affirmation is. Maybe you have even tried using them. An affirmation is a positive statement to you from yourself. Affirmations are a wonderful tool to help you in creating more positive internal beliefs. The purpose of an affirmation is to help improve your self-talk. Without paying attention to your self-talk and replacing negative messages with positive ones, you will likely continue living in a less-than-productive manner.
I have seen affirmations used in different ways to try and help people. I encourage you to use affirmations in a way in which you already believe them, not in a way you don’t. So if you do not believe you are loveable, I would have you create an affirmation that says, “I want to learn to believe I am loveable.” You already believe this statement; therefore, your subconscious mind will allow it in more easily. Repeated self-talk will either reinforce what you don’t want to believe or enhance what you do want to believe. I am voting for enhancing the positive, desired beliefs.
I have been working as a psychotherapist for many years and know there are many individuals who present themselves in a very positive and self-assured manner on the outside. And maybe they are in some ways. One’s negative self-talk often is not easy for others to see, but you know it is there. I know many outwardly successful people who are very hard on themselves, internally. So be careful assuming that a certain person is so confident because who knows what lies beneath the surface. We all present differently.
There are some of you that display these internal negative beliefs more readily to the outside world. Maybe you are someone who apologizes a lot. Maybe when you receive a compliment you discount it. For example, if someone says to you, “You did a great job on that project, you are really creative,” and you respond “Oh, it was really nothing,” is an indicator that you may be more critical with yourself. Pay attention. Notice if you do apologize at times when no apology is needed. Notice if you have trouble accepting a compliment with a simple “Thank you.”
In summary, creating three to five affirmation you can start saying to yourself for the next few weeks would be wonderful. Remember to keep them believable and positive. Here are a few generic examples:

I want to learn to accept positive things in my life
I want to learn to believe I am worthy of love
I want to learn to believe that I can succeed
I know I am good at my job
I want to learn to trust that I can adjust to change

What Beliefs Are Controlling You?

A belief is an idea that you are convinced about whether you are conscious of it or not. Our beliefs are at the core of our being. They are the driving force behind so much of who we are and how we behave. It is imperative that you identify the beliefs that are driving you to live as you are and be sure they are in alignment with your values.

Your beliefs may be positive or negative; however, many of your beliefs about yourself are held at the subconscious level. When your beliefs are influencing you subconsciously, you are not in control of them. Being that these beliefs have so much influence on your well-being, it makes sense that you would want to identify them so you can change the ones that are not helpful. This is done by bringing these subconscious beliefs to your conscious awareness.

There are many ways to do this. One way to become more aware of your beliefs is to ask yourself what you are telling yourself about a situation. Let’s say that you have a business interview tomorrow and you know you are nervous. You try and calm yourself. You can also ask yourself, “What am I telling myself about this interview.” You may find that when you explore this you hear things like, “I’m not good enough”, or “I don’t deserve good things to happen to me.” These are just some examples. The point is to search for the subconscious beliefs that may be interfering with you being your best self.

When you identify these negative beliefs it is important to correct them. Change the belief to what you want to believe. It is ok if you don’t believe it yet, but at least make the correction. The correction for “I’m not good enough,” might be “I have the skills needed for this job and am an excellent worker.” What a wonderful correction. Then begin to read those corrections so your mind begins to take them in. This can be a powerful beginning to changing your negative beliefs.

Are Your Attitudes Helping You?

Attitude is the composition of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. The American Heritage Dictionary defines attitude as “a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter.” Another definition says that attitude can be defined as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities, ideas, or just about anything in your environment (Zimbardo et al. 1999, 745). Often you think you know what your attitude about something is, but often your behaviors better direct you to what your underlying attitude really is on a certain matter.

Changing one’s attitude so your life goes in the direction you want takes some attention. It involves digging deeper into your subconscious mind so you can bring to the surface attitudes that are holding you back in life or that are not in alignment with your value system. It is important that you are in charge of the attitudes you hold. Many of your attitudes stem from past learning’s and people that were influential to you in your formative years. Often one is unconscious of this transference. So start paying attention to your attitudes. Listen to what you say about various life events. Pay attention. You could even try writing down different attitudes you think you hold about various life concerns. The important thing here is to become more aware of the attitudes influencing you and be sure you like them. You choose your attitudes whether consciously or unconsciously.

Many believe that what you put out comes back to you in many ways. A positive attitude from you tends to produce a positive attitude toward you. A negative from you, conversely, often produces the same toward you. If you put out acceptance and warmth, you tend to attract the same. Positive energy is attracted to positive energy. For those of you that are more positive, the negative just doesn’t feel good. You will be able to attract more encouraging energy and communicate better when your view of yourself and your world is more affirmative.
This may all sound too simple. But in essence, it is true. Think about the people in your life who are more positive and your reactions to them. What are your reactions to those in your life that tend to be more negative? This is similar to the cup-half-full-versus-half-empty stance to life. You know how it feels to be around each of these types of people.

Having a more productive attitude doesn’t mean you won’t still encounter obstacles. However, the way you approach these obstacles will be more proactive and self-directed. The better your attitude, the better you will communicate. When you view others in a more positive light, you will treat them in a more respectful way. This will lead you to having more fulfilling relationships. As you rewrite some of your attitudes, the energy you send forth into the universe will likely be different and yield more positive interactions and experiences.

Setting Boundaries In Your Relationships

stop light
Boundaries; a word we hear a lot about these days. But, what does it really mean? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a boundary is: something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent; a separating line or point. I like the last phase “a separating line or point.” An example of a physical boundary would be if you drew a line on the ground and told people not to cross that line. That is a clear-cut boundary. Boundaries include physical, as well as, emotional, spiritual and relational. Boundaries are, in a sense, our own personal bill of rights that we design for ourself and enforce by adhering to healthy and appropriate limit setting.

Something that I find very helpful as one begins to learn about boundaries is what I call the “stoplight technique”. This is a tool that will help you begin to formulate some guidelines for yourself. First, you simply need to imagine a stoplight. You might even want to cut out a picture of a stoplight and post it some place where it will be a constant reminder to you of your boundaries.

Green on the stoplight indicates go, or everything is ok, “this feels right”. For example, you are in a friendship where there is open and honest communication. The person has never lied to you and you talk openly about your feelings. Nothing has happened that makes you doubt or question the person.

A yellow light indicates caution. With a yellow light you need to stop and look. If you do not stop and look it could be dangerous but if you look the coast may also be clear. For example, say you’re in a relationship with someone and they have talked about you behind your back. Or, you have just started dating someone and he/she is coming on too strong and seems very frustrated when you want to slow down. If you address the above situation and the person is open, honest and willing to consider his/her part in the problem, then it may be ok to continue going forward. This situation may return to green status. If you talk with the person and they respond with blaming, denial, minimizations, etc., then it would be important that you listen to that yellow warning light and possibly discontinue the relationship or set very strict limits. Most relationships have some minor yellow light situations that need to be worked through. The key is that situations are attended to verses avoided.

Then there is the red light. This is a definite stop. Some examples of this would be if someone steals from you, hurts you physically, sleep with your partner, etc. Certain situations are a clear indication of a serious violation. Setting a limit here can be difficult depending on the relationship you have with the other person.

This stoplight technique is a reminder that you have the right to stop, to use caution or to move forward in a relationship or situation. As you become aware of the red, yellow and green light situations in your life, you will feel more empowered in your relationships.