Affirmations Don't Work for Me. Here Are 20 Reminders That Do

I'm gonna be honest. I often find myself reading "affirmations" and feeling all sorts of angry. I've never been into forced "positive thinking," and although I recognize it floats some people's boats, it has more of a torpedo effect on mine.

So I created a list of reminders (call them what you wanna call them), that actually help me live my best life. Here it is:

1. I'm imperfect, like everyone else, and that's OK. My self worth is not dependent on an accomplishment, number, or status.

2. Life is filled with sadness, pain, illness, death, and loss. These are universal human experiences.

3. Pain is out of my control. Self-compassion is in my control.

4. I am constantly changing; my world is constantly changing; everything I experience (physical, mental, and emotional) will come and go.

5. Being perfect is not what connects people. Vulnerability brings us closer together.

6. If I knew I only had a week to live, I should ask, "what would be important?"

7. There are no "bad" feelings; however, there are unhelpful reactions to difficult feelings. Experiencing uncomfortable feelings doesn't make something wrong with me, it makes me human.

8. Playing is not irresponsible; in fact it's the opposite. Fun is necessary for happiness.

9. The longest relationship I'll have in my life is the one with myself. Other people will come and go, but I'll be with myself from birth until death. The sooner I decide to start being kind to myself, the longer I have to live life supporting rather than undermining myself.

10. Whatever it is that I'm going through, chances are there are thousands of others going through a similar experience. We're all in this together.

11. To ask for help is not a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it's actually a sign of strength and courage

12. What's the worst that can happen? Consider that question. Then ask: "What do I need to survive that?"

13. Things come together and fall apart, and come together and fall apart again. This is what life is.

14. There are no objective truths. How I perceive myself and my world is flexible and can change.

15. Acceptance is not about liking, wanting, or condoning. Acceptance can liberate us.

16. Humans are resilient beings. I am programmed to heal.

17. We have the ability to find meaning in our suffering. Sometimes it just takes creativity.

18. What serves another person might not serve me, and vice versa.

19. Realistic expectations mitigate unnecessary pain, disappointment, and frustration, and my energy changes from moment to moment. I put 80% in everything I do, sometimes more and sometimes less.

20. I don't have to "reach my potential" but I will do my best not to sleepwalk through my life.

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Megan Bruneau

Psychotherapist & Executive Coach
Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC is a psychotherapist, wellness expert, blogger, and lover of sport and satire. After a destructive relationship with perfectionism and disordered eating caused her umpteenth overexercise-induced injury, she (reluctantly) found yoga — and discovered self-compassion. Megan soon realized why Buddhism has sustained for thousands of years, and she now brings the philosophy into the counseling room to help her clients change their relationship to their struggles and to themselves. Megan currently lives in New York City. If you're interested in working with her either in person or remotely, please email her at Read more from Megan at, and follow her on Instagram for nuggets of therapy wisdom.
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Megan Bruneau

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