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.
Megan Bruneau, M.A., is a therapist, executive coach, and wellness writer based in New York City. She received her bachelor of arts in psychology and family studies from the University of British Columbia and a masters of arts in counselling psychology from Simon Fraser University. She is a registered clinical counselor (RCC) in British Columbia, but now works with clients in New York and globally via remote work. Drawing inspiration from her own experiences, Bruneau has contributed to The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Thrillist and has appears on Good Morning America and New York 1 Morning News. She is also the host of the podcast Better Because of It.