I was still working full time in the Alaskan frozen tundra (true story) when I started having some anxiety about giving up a well paid job to be self-employed. My two year stint as the community / school counselor in the Eskimo village of Kotlik was just about over, and I knew that I just didn’t have the stomach to return to community mental health. I’d been wanting to transition into coaching and consulting so I could incorporate my intuitive healing work.
I knew it was the right move, but scary nonetheless. I used to be an email junkie and would sign up for all kids of newsletters that sparked my interest. I am an avid learner and love to soak up new information, though I do have the whole email subscription addiction much more in control now. One of the emails I received at the time had a document attached that spoke about using affirmations, 101 of them to be exact.
At the time, affirmations were still a “new” thing, and many people lumped them into the serious woo-woo world. The email itself didn’t really support the practicality of affirmations as the article featured a young dude bragging about his fortune, and posting photos of his newly acquired, yellow sports car and celebrity-style life. I remember my inner cynic piped up and I thought, “Yea right, as if spewing off words gets you a sports car”.
After my little rant and critical assessment of this email (usually criticism is somehow linked to jealously…I mean, who wouldn’t want to make 6 figures by using and selling the concept of affirmations) I was able to focus on the useful part. In the attached document there really were 101 affirmations with positive statements ranging from body image, to relationships, to prosperity. I thought trying this whole thing out might be a good social experiment.
Worst case, I could share my story with friends and we would all get a good laugh. So I picked a couple affirmations that seemed to be relevant to my desired goal of starting my own business, and went on my way to rambling in front of the mirror, twice a day, reciting my affirmations like a mad person. I did this for a month figuring this was long enough to bore more confidence into my brain.
After a month I was completely cured of any fear and anxiety! Actually, no, I’m kidding, but that would have been nice. However, I was pleasantly surprised at some of the shifts I DID experience.
One of the affirmations was,
“Fear is only a feeling; it cannot hold you back.”
And believe or not, whenever I notice feelings of fear pop up in my chest, I still say this to myself today. It gives me permission to understand that fear is normal, reoccurring, and frequent (if you are a business owner), and that I can push through it. I must admit that I was a good example of someone who would let fear stop her in her tracks. Does that mean that I gained more confidence? Possibly. All I cared about was that I actually saw a difference in my inner-dialogue. And by changing my immediate thought response, my actions changed.
Another affirmation that stuck was,
“I am powerful, and worthy of all things great”.
I didn’t realize it until I was pretty mad about something (that apparently wasn’t all that important as I can’t remember), and was feeling a bit defeated. When I decided I was done having my little pity-party, I heard myself saying, “I am powerful, and worthy of all things great!”. Huh, how about that? I even think I surprised myself at that moment! This affirmation gave me permission to stop beating myself up, and recognize that I am indeed a powerful creator of my experience. It shifted my mood, and got my brain in a better place so that I could move on.
Did this help with my confidence?
Maybe so. After all, I decided to go with the belief that I am powerful. If I am carrying that around subconsciously, then I imagine it’s giving me a nice boost. Something I learned is that it was easier to make the affirmations stick when I used my own words. Some of the suggested 101 affirmations sounded kinda corny, not how I would normally talk. It therefore felt in-genuine, and I thought to myself, “Please don’t let THAT ONE hang around upstairs!”. So I did reword some of the ones I picked out to make them sound more like me.
I also only picked 5 to experiment with.
I figured 5 was manageable, 101 not so much. I didn’t want to set myself up to abandon ship or put it off because it felt like such a chore. Shoot, I knew I could memorize and recite all 5 affirmations every time I went to sit on the toilet to pee. (You don’t realize how many times you pee in a day until you start counting cycles of affirmations.) Sometimes I did look at myself in the mirror when I said them. “They” say that affirmations work better that way. That could be so, but I found that my potty routine worked fine for me and if I got in a round in the mirror while washing my hands, it was a bonus.
Have I made my millions yet or did I buy a nice shiny, yellow sports car? Well, no, even though I do affirm that, “money flows to me easily”. To be honest, I really don’t care that much about a yellow sports car anyway.
Several months later I stumbled across Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life (Amazon affiliate link). Louise Hay is a perfect example of someone who conquered an abusive past, a cancer diagnosis, and failed marriage with the power of thought. She reiterates that there is a definite connection between mind and body, and an affirmation is like planting a seed of how you want things to be in your life. So if you too would like to delve into the world of affirmations for LESS fear and self-doubt and MORE confidence, I recommend you read her book (Amazon affiliate link).