Using Affirmations to Uplift, Not Mask
I tend to share what some might consider an excessive number of positive affirmations, and inspirational posts. It doesn’t mean everything in my own life is hunky dory all the time. It means I share them because most of the time, I need to be uplifted as much as anyone else out there. I need constant reminders to keep putting one foot in front of the other even if I do so more slowly on some days than others.
I also need to be supported when I’m not feeling very OK. For most of my life, letting it be known that I wasn’t always holding it together perfectly was not only proscribed, but dangerous. To have friends who will now ask me if everything’s OK, simply because I shared certain posts is one of the biggest blessings in my life.
As a strong proponent of mental health awareness, I’m especially conscious about the highs, lows, and in-betweens that form the pattern of my mental state. I’ve learned to accept there will be days when it’s all I can do to perform the bare minimum of my daily tasks, and others when I’m my happy, over-achieving self. The truth is, most days fall somewhere in the middle, and that’s as it should be.
Granted, what constituted my bare minimum 20 years ago compared to now is a completely different animal. Certainly, my actual responsibilities have decreased. I no longer have children to care for, nor do I leave the house to go work in someone else’s office 5 days a week. I’m also not the angry, frustrated, self-sabotaging woman who repeatedly failed at anything that would have improved my own circumstances. The most profound change I’ve made came in the last 5 years or so. I learned to commit to myself, for no other reason than I deserved it.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to value myself enough to honor those commitments, be they professional, physical, mental, or emotional. I suspect a lot of it had to do with early conditioning when I was never enough for my mom. She set expectations I eventually deemed impossible. Unfortunately, when I gave up on trying to please her or find success in any of her expectations, I essentially gave up on any I might have had for myself too.
I think for awhile, I’d allowed her to set my bar for me, relinquishing any responsibility for my own life. Her code was so powerfully embedded in my psyche, I didn’t realize I could rewire it if I wanted to. I ended up going through the next 20 years or so believing I was destined to be mediocre. Whether it was the way I looked, the jobs I landed, the relationships I attracted, or what constituted friendships, I led a life of settling. I believed I wasn’t worthy of anything better, much less following my own passions and believing in my own talents and skills.
Looking At Myself Through A Different Lens
Sure, I had friends who complimented me on my intelligence, my wisdom, and my ability to quickly learn and remember line dances, but in most cases, I was quick to dismiss their words, saying I was no better than anyone else, or pointing to someone who was better than me. What I didn’t realize at the time was people get tired of being dismissed. I didn’t even notice when the compliments stopped coming, and often, when friends who might have been supportive drifted away.
When I finally took the leap and left a job and the work I’d come to, if not hate, at least lose interest in, I drifted for a couple of years. I lackadaisically kept up my blog, started a website, and signed up for courses in a few different areas. Nothing stuck, and I couldn’t find anything to hold my interest. Instead, I read books, watched TV, took naps, and eventually, started going to the gym regularly. When I found I’d started many things, including 3 novels and a memoir, but completed nothing, I knew I had to take a hard look at who and what I was, and where I wanted my life to go.
The initial picture wasn’t pretty, forged from years of self-criticism, and under-achieving. I knew deep down I had lots of potential, but I always seemed to find a way to stop well before I reached any kind of positive conclusion. Yet the roadblocks and obstacles that did the most damage were ones of my own creation. I realized I had to start changing my own story before I could take charge of my own destiny; a responsibility I hadn’t even realized I’d relinquished to someone who was, by then, long dead.
It began when I watched “The Secret” for the first time, and made a pact with a friend to help each other remove negative self-talk from our conversations. I’d like to say I’ve learned to remove it completely, but that’s a level of perfection I’ve yet to achieve, though not for lack of trying.
Putting Myself First
As time went on, I knew I had to make major changes career-wise, as I’d dug myself a hole I wasn’t even sure I wanted to climb out of any more. In truth, I was bored; with my life, with a long series of dead-end jobs with increasing responsibility but no recognition, and with the way I looked. To be honest, there was a long period of time when I didn’t even bother to put forth the effort.
The turning point came when I realized if I didn’t commit to myself, first and foremost, I wasn’t going to break decades-old patterns. I knew, at least vaguely where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to be. I didn’t have details, and have learned since, I don’t need to. The picture in my head and a passionate desire to be present in that picture are enough to start putting things in place.
- Scheduling regular, consistent blog posts
- Mapping out steps to complete my current WIP’s
- Doing regular Facebook Live Videos
- Posting or sharing positive affirmations and quotes
- Showing up every day with my face washed, teeth brushed, hair combed, and wearing something other than what I slept in (which means I’m putting a bra on every day)
- Maintaining my physical fitness
- Meditating regularly
- Planning and preparing healthy meals, that require little to no daily preparation. This includes:
- Making a large enough salad to last for 3 or 4 meals
- Preparing batch meals that can be frozen in single servings
- Taking advantage of seasonal produce to make things like gazpacho and fruit salad
I’ve also learned there are times when I’ll slip a bit on due dates, and beating myself up about it won’t help me get back on track. I need down time, and there are times I’ll need it more than others. I have to honor those cycles, and recognize when they end, I’ll come back stronger, clearer, more confident, and more committed than ever.
So I share something positive on Facebook every day (usually several somethings) but recognize we all have “those” days. I encourage myself and others to respect our own cycles, and to honor our own boundaries and needs. It took me a long time to realize the only expectations I needed to meet were my own, and a bit longer to figure out what those were. I had to disentangle myself from all the things I’d been taught to believe by people who, in their own minds only wanted what was best for me. Unfortunately, their vision was extremely limited, and defined by what they, themselves had been taught to believe.
Always Something to Be Grateful For
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful I finally learned to commit to myself.
- I’m grateful for the people who’ve come into my life at just the right time to help me learn, and sometimes unlearn what I need to know to move forward.
- I’m grateful for the successes I’ve had in the last few years which support the choices and decisions I finally made for me, and only me.
- I’m grateful for inspiration which never really deserts me any more, if it ever did. Learning to tap into it at will has been one of my greatest lessons and achievements.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, commitment, motivation, friendship, support, joy, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.
If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward