Following the two worst things that have happened to me (the death of my son Robbie Kuripla in 1984, and my partner Rob Carr recently ending our 35-year relationship), positive affirmations helped me recover from my grief, accept the New Normal and move on. You’d smile at my apartment walls; they’re littered with affirming posters and reminders.
If affirmations aren’t part of your life I encourage you to embrace the practice so you can reprogram yourself and steel your resilience, trading the stress of self-sacrifice for self-support. Here are some guidelines:
1. Use positive words. Envision what you’re working toward; write a positive one-sentence statement that reflects how you want to feel and behave. Example: “I choose happiness.”
2. Use present tense. Write your affirmations as if they’ve already been accomplished. Example: “I accept reality as it is.” Future tense keeps you “in the future” while present tense influences your “now.”
3. Create positive images. Hold these pictures firmly in your mind; vividly imagine yourself engaging in the new behavior(s).
4. Write down your affirmations. Record them on your business card or small pieces of paper; carry them with you. Post them on your bathroom mirror, car dashboard, or walls. Make posters as I do (it’s fun) so you’re surrounded with attractive reminders.
5. Memorize and repeat. Read or recite your affirmations constantly. Visualize your images. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Say it, see it, and you will be it.
Affirmations work because your brain absorbs what you think, say, and even imagine, accepting everything you tell it as The Truth. An affirmation may sound like a lie but that’s only because you haven’t accomplished it yet. You will; be consistent, be patient. World class athletes and astronauts use this process to improve their performance; it’s called simulation.
If this idea is new to you, start small. Keep it private at first so no one discourages or teases you. As results unfold you’ll gain confidence. Affirmations and visualizations have not only helped me survive my two biggest traumas, they’ve empowered and enabled me to heal and grow, reclaim my life, recreate myself, and thrive (even flourish) once again.
Simple Action: If you need a mental kick start, a change of direction, or to recover from a hurt or trauma, begin affirming your life and yourself today. Reach for the stars and soar to new heights; you never know until you try.