I was on the edge of a panic attack (that I mistakenly thought I was hiding very well) sitting with my cousin Andrea in her bedroom. It was flash flooding outside and I’d just told her about how miserable I was feeling in my romantic relationship, which was taking up all of the real estate in my psyche to the detriment of everything and everyone else in my life, including that relationship.
“Are you willing to change?” Andrea asked.
Pause. Brief contemplation. Fear of the unknown.
She continued, “You don’t have to know how you’re going to change right now. But if you are ready to feel better in your life, just say ‘I am willing to change’ whenever you start losing your mind and the rest will unfold, I promise.”
Without much conviction I said, “Okay, I’m willing to change.” I felt awkward and vulnerable.
Recalling that first declaration now, I feel a chill in my shoulder blades. When I said, “I am willing to change,” for the first time, I walked through a threshold to the next chapter of my life — a chapter that’s been filled with a greater capacity to be present, healthy, and connected to myself, others, and the rest of the universe.
One small step at a time I did change. Teachers appeared. New habits showed up. Incredible pain contrasted with surprising laughter, joy, and compassion.
Since that conversation nearly two years ago, many other affirmations have arrived on the scene of my life. Instead of feeling nervous and weird when I speak these affirmations, I now feel empowered and delighted.
That doesn’t mean that I always believe myself when I look in the mirror and say, “I love you, Leah.” Sometimes a cruel, scared voice within me will criticize my skin or home decor or capacity to show up as a friend in response to hearing the affirmation, “I love you.”
That’s okay. A feared up reaction like that is just information that I have more space to heal.
When my ego announces the opposite of whatever affirmation I’m working with, I send more love to that part of myself and keep it moving after a few more reps of the new, loving programming.
When I think about my human brain like the hardware of a computer, then all of the messages I’ve been exposed to throughout my life — from parents, school, tv, social media, relationships — are just software that I’ve been programmed with similar to Microsoft Word or Photoshop or Solitaire Pro on my MacBook.
If I don’t like how I’m programmed, it’s up to me to delete the software that is running on my system and to install new information that will better serve me where I am on my journey through life. Affirmations are one of the simplest tools I’ve come across to reprogram the computer of my brain.
HOW :: Here are a few ways I enjoy working with affirmations:
1) I like to write an affirmation down and post it on a wall in my home, or somewhere in my car, or set the words as an alarm on my phone so that the message appears throughout my day like a traffic sign reminding me to travel in loving kindness with myself.
2) When I’m with other people in particularly high energy spaces, I’ll sometimes pause, close my eyes, place my hands on my heart or tummy, and recite one of my affirmations to come back into the moment, my body, and genuine love for myself.
3) I learned to practice Mirror Work from Louise Hay who suggests saying an affirmation to yourself while looking in the mirror. It’s helpful to add your own name to the affirmation.
Experiment intuitively with the illustrated affirmations in my free eBook in any way that feels correct to you.
WHAT WORKS FOR YOU? :: I’d love to know what your favorite affirmation is and how you like to work this kind of alchemy in your own life. Please leave a comment on the topic whether you’re an affirmations beginner or an old pro.