Indigo's Peer Journal Exercises- Exercise #5
Creating Positive Affirmations
If you've done ANY of the previous exercises (or even if you haven't!), you may be in need of a personal pick-me-up.
I was lucky...I had a husband who was happy to tell me daily that I was beautiful, loving, remarkable, amazing, wonderful, and a thousand other great things. Some of us aren't so lucky- or could use some extra TLC anyway :).
Here's a way to help to lift your self-spirits as well as try to define your sense of self. By the way, feel free to continue this exercise as often as you wish- it really helps the healing process to discover new things you can love and respect about yourself every single day!
Here's how it works:
Take some time to think really hard about who you are- what kind of person (strong, loving, sensitive, funny, etc.). Try to avoid things like "a good cook" or "a good golfer"- these things don't say WHO you are, they say WHAT you are. That's not quite the same thing, though there is room for the two distinctions to overlap a bit. Physical characteristics can count, like beautiful eyes or a nice hair color, but try to limit it to things about your self/soul/spirit/emotional/mental base.
The idea in choosing characteristics to concentrate on is to help you to define YOU- emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Not physically.
Then pick out three things that are positive which you'd like to hear more of for about a week.
Pick only POSITIVE things.
Write these traits down on Post-it Notes or other note paper, and leave them where you are sure to see them repeatedly over the course of a week or so, preferably several times daily. Write several notes with the same traits, if you have to- even in lipstick on your mirror, ladies! Guys, you can use shaving cream or a crayon if you wish (water-washable, please...). The idea is to saturate yourself with these great thoughts about YOU. Roll in them, bathe in them, sink into them like a feather cloud.
Say them to yourself when you see them. Notice how you feel about that. Write this in your journal.
How is it different after a week to see/hear these same affirmations? Do you believe them more now than you did a week ago? Why or why not? Write this in your journal.
Did they seem trivial or unbelieveable at the start of the exercise? Do they still seem that way at the end of it? If so, why do you think that is? Write this in your journal.
What you get from this exercise:
Besides the obvious feel-good pat-on-the-back, you can use the choices you made in the third step to help you to define your character, spirit, sense-of-self, etc. Why would you want to do that, you ask?
Because: many abuse survivors simply have no clue who they really are- they are full-grown imitations of who they thought they were as kids. They don't realize fully what makes them special or important and why they should be proud of those traits; how they relate to the people and things and activities in their lives, what is important to them as individuals, etc. They never got the chance to define these things for themselves as children. They feel unlovable, unimportant, whatever their attackers made them feel- because that's all they know! They need to set up different patterns for themselves, ones they can believe in whole-heartedly.
Here's another reason: most survivors carry left-over programming from abusive parents or care-givers (i.e.- "You're a terrible person, no one will ever want you!" or "You have nothing to offer anyone!"). De-programming is a long and serious job. A good place to start is to have a basis for what you know- truly KNOW in your heart- to be good about yourself. Then you have to believe it, with as much gusto as you have to heal with.
This journal is no place to lie to yourself- that only undermines everything you will do to help yourself heal in the future. When things get really tough later on in the process (yes, I know they are really tough now...), and you backslide a bit (and we all do!), you have this base to fall back on that you created with the Positive Affirmations. And it's a genuine "you" base, too- not something someone made up for you as a kid that you came to believe because you were told so often, you started to believe it. Well, I guess it's kind of the same, when you look at it like that- but it's much better for you! :)
If your mate or family is truly helpful and wants to be involved, ask them to repeat the affirmations to you a few times a day, with real sincerity- but only the ones they feel they can honestly repeat. While it's great to feel good about ourselves, and it's always nice to have compliments, hearing something that you love to hear from someone you care about can make all the difference in the world! :)
© Copyright Indigo 1998