How Affirmations Helped Me Create a More Joyful Life
As a writer and word-lover, I’m a big proponent of affirmations. Over the years, they have helped me stay centered in my truth, on track with my highest potential, and become more loving in my relationships while creating better boundaries. Here’s how my approach has evolved over time:
In 2013, I began writing daily affirmations as an adaptation to my morning writing practice. As a way to summarize the insights gathered from my writing session, I wrote an affirmation before closing my notebook and beginning my day. I found over time that I was changing my neural pathways. The affirmations drew upon my deepest wisdom, and set me up to believe in myself. My confidence grew.
Here are some examples from that year:
Transformation comes in the choices I make in every moment
By taking care of my life, I’m doing my life’s work.
In 2014, I switched to an art journaling practice. By associating colors with words and incorporating images (both abstract and representational), I uncovered another layer of my psyche. Often these would come out as affirmations — often they felt like word potions that were leading me into another part of myself. Some examples:
My presence is the most meaningful gift I could give.
I am the only person qualified to direct my life.
In 2017, I decided to shorten my art journaling practice to make time for more meditation and actual art-making. I chose a 6"x 6" notebook and eventually began using a red pen. My goal was only to fill one page, so I would write the headlines of my previous day, desires for the day ahead, and usually concluded with at least one affirmation.
On some days I would write a list of negative beliefs on one side of the page and a list of positive beliefs to counter them: this is an important component of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The positive beliefs became affirmations that I would refer to over and over.
Today, I use affirmations throughout my day. When I find myself stuck, doubtful, a little sad, or annoyed, I invent an affirmation to bring me back to my bright, joyful heart. The thing is, affirmations made me believe in my bright, joyful heart above all the other aspects of me — the sad, lonely grump, the frustrated greedy consumer, the petulant entitled student, the whining disappointed girlfriend.
Affirmations can do the same for you. I hope you’ll explore and use the ones I have written, and begin writing your own. There is no end to the gifts of life that you can experience by using affirmations.