I am 35 years old. Sadly, I wasted many years not knowing that I had the ability to take my life and change it. I was always abused, a victim, broken and deprived of love. Or at least that is how I saw myself. By accepting those labels, I accepted that as my reality and my fate. My label is mine to give myself, but I had to learn this the hard way.
If I sing, am I a singer? If I run, am I a runner? In that moment, I am exactly who I want to be. The label is something that I give myself. I have always been hesitant to say "I am a runner" because I'm not fast, I don't win races, I am average at best. But I love it. It brings me a level of joy that I cannot explain. After I run a race or go on a great run, I feel like I have wings; like I could take on anything. That should be more than enough to justify the title of a runner, simply because I identify with it.
I recently wrote about my tool box. I have one trusty old tool that I rely on, no matter what is going on in my life. Several years ago I was challenged to do two things daily.
- Write down five positive affirmations daily
- Write down five things I was grateful for.
At first, when I started doing it, my confidence was so low I felt like my affirmations didn't even deserve a proper place to live. I would tear off scraps of paper, write down what felt like insignificant affirmations, it may have looked something like this:
- I have nice hair
- I can take care of my daughter
- I have good friends
- I have pretty eyes
- I have good handwriting
Then, I would take that tiny scrap of paper and fold it into a tiny little ball, and shove it in my pocket. When I changed my clothes at night, I was sure to throw the paper into the trash, so no one would find it. I don't know what I was afraid would happen if someone stumbled upon my list, but in my mind, it felt like it would be catastrophic. But still, I kept writing them down. I was also writing down five things I was grateful for. It didn't take long before I started to write my lists in a notebook. Then I bought a daily calendar that I dedicated to these lists. Soon I became dependent on doing this task daily. If I didn't do this, my day felt off out of sorts.
Within a month or so, I felt like I stood a little taller. I looked people in the eyes, and I started to stand up for myself. Was this is what it felt like to love myself?
And just like that, slowly I began to believe the affirmations. I woke up grateful for who I was, what I had accomplished, and I believed in myself. My lists quickly changed from superficial to meaningful, and true.
- I am worthy of all great things
- I am lovable
- I am beautiful inside and out
- I am a wonderful mother and wife
- I am capable of doing great things
It felt like a miracle had occurred in my life, but the truth was, it wasn't a miracle at all. It was a change in my thinking. I no longer allowed bad men in my life. I only kept friends who treated me well. It seemed so simple, but I had to get out of my comfort zone and really trust a simple suggestion that was made to me by someone who obviously saw something good in me, that I wasn't seeing for myself. Its a gift that I can never repay.
I challenge anyone who struggles. Maybe you struggle just for one day, or with one issue, or you feel like I felt when I started my journey, but write down those things you should love about yourself and the things that you can find gratitude in. Only five each a day. It takes only a couple of minutes, I could guarantee you will see a difference in your thinking if you are start this. I know this isn't a knew philosophy, and I'm not the first person to suggest it, I'm just one example it working.
If you already do something like this, or have in the past, I'd love to hear your experiences. Share with me in the comments below, send me an email or leave me a message/post on any of my social media (links below)