Changing Positive to Negative: Thoughts and Affirmations (cont.)

Expanding from my last post, I want to discuss the benefit of working through replacing your negative thoughts and beliefs with positive ones. Positive thoughts are more commonly referred to as affirmations and all affirmations are, are phrases that are healing self-scripts that counter negative self-scripts (as explained in my last post).

It wasn’t until I actually wrote down all of my thoughts and beliefs that I have of myself to realize just how horribly I think and speak to myself. None of them were positive. That glaring fact in and of itself was an encourager to ask the question: “So how can I fix this?” The ‘fixing’ process I like to liken to sifting through your wardrobe, ridding of the clothes that don’t fit, make you feel good, or just plain need-to-go and replacing those clothing items with new ones that will better suit you in the long run. Also, just like there are different types of clothes, I’d like to think that there are different types of Affirmations that serve different purposes. There are statements of who you are (I am), statements of your potential (I can) and statements of the positive changes you wish to see in your life (I will).

I am: statements of who you are.

This type of affirmation is a positive affirmation of a real state of being that exists in you. You can achieve a full list of I am statements be taking a full inventory of your attributes, strengths, competencies, and talents.

But what if you’re like me and only can think of mostly negative ones? I mean, the whole point is to try to create a positive list to help you formulate a better image of yourself, not one that makes you feel worse. What ended up helping me to find some positive attributions about myself was to imagine what my best friend and husband would say about me to someone who asked them about what I was like. Things started to flow a little better from there. I am statements could look similar to the following examples:

  • I am capable
  • I am a great friend
  • I am a talented ____
  • I am trustworthy
  • I am loyal
  • I am beautiful
  • I am strong
  • I am intelligent
  • I am funny
  • I am resilient

I can: A statement of your potential

This is a statement of your ability to accomplish goals. It is a statement of your belief in your power to grow, to change, and to help yourself. I can statements can be developed to help you set short term goals (3-6 months) that you wish to accomplish within yourself and in your life. Examples include:

  • I can learn to handle my emotions
  • I can succeed
  • I can gain self-confidence
  • I can improve
  • I can heal
  • I can let go
  • I can be positive
  • I can let go of guilt
  • I can let go of fear
  • I can reach out to my support team
  • I can follow a meal plan

I will: Statements of positive change in your life

These affirmations pertain to changes you wish to—and plan to—achieve. It is a positive statement of what you want to have happen no matter how impossible it may seem initially. Some I will examples might resemble the following:

  • I will like myself better each day
  • I will be completely honest, no matter what
  • I will learn to forgive myself
  • I will recover
  • I will take a risk to grow today
  • I will feel less guilt each day
  • I will feel good things about me today
  • I will smile more today
  • I will grow emotionally stronger each day
  • I will take care of me today
  • I will learn to accept and respect my body
  • I will learn to live without my eating disorder

So start building a list. It may start out small but as good things come, write them down. Become aware of the negative thoughts/beliefs that arise and be diligent with replacing them with better ones. Can’t think of a replacement? Then return to your list until you find one. If we can ingrain bad thoughts, we can also ingrain good ones. As the common quote by Gautama Buddha states:

We are what we think. All that we are arises in our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.

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