You are enough. You know how to persevere through challenging times. You are strong. You were brave and courageous to go to college. You have what it takes to be successful.
How’d it feel to hear all that? While it may sound ridiculously cheesy, what you tell yourself (and each other) MATTERS.
An affirmation is a declaration that asserts something as true. In other words, an affirmation is a statement that gives you emotional support, confidence, and encouragement, based on things you already know about yourself.
And who doesn’t benefit from more support, confidence, and encouragement?!
Affirmations are not just pretending everything is fine; they are about tapping deep into our strengths and acknowledging them, no strings attached.
There is a difference between cheerleading, reassuring, and affirming ourselves. Let’s take a closer look at these differences and practice giving ourselves positive affirmations.
Cheerleading is exactly what it sounds like: cheering someone on (and that someone could be yourself). Common cheerleading statements are:
- “I am proud of you!”
- “You can do hard things!”
- “You’re doing great!”
There is nothing inherently wrong with cheerleading. It can feel nice to receive praise and encouragement in this manner! Sometimes, however, this cheerleading can feel “fake” or over the top, especially if you are in the middle of the struggle.
Reassuring someone typically takes the form of trying to soothe or convince someone that they are fine (whether or not that is true). While other people can reassure us, we often reassure ourselves, as well! Common reassuring sentences are:
- “Everything will be okay.”
- “It will all work out.”
- “You’ll be okay.”
While these statements sound nice on the outside, oftentimes, reassuring someone can make that person (including yourself) feel invalidated for having a hard time or experiencing difficult emotions.
Reassuring statements also send the message that you are uncomfortable with another person’s pain, or even your own pain, and want to try to fix the pain with a few words. Hearing, “It will be okay” doesn’t help most people feel supported and heard.
As I mentioned earlier, affirmations are statements that assert something is true. They are rooted in knowledge we have about ourselves and/or the people around us. Possible positive affirmations are:
- “I know how to handle hard emotions when they come up.”
- “You are a genuine, hard working person who has climbed mountains in the past.”
- “I will honor my body, because it has my best interests at heart (literally).”
We can be very hard on ourselves! Even when we know that we have positive attributes, it can be hard to truly acknowledge them.
Positive affirmations can feel corny and awkward at times, but when we practice saying them in our heads or out loud, we start to truly believe these things about ourselves.
Try taking a minute to think about your own strengths. What are 3 affirmations you could write about yourself to give you a boost the next time you feel down?