The first time I sat face to face with my chiropractor, yes THIS chiropractor, she was attentive. She listened. She nodded and gave the obligatory “hrmm” noise now and then. Yet, immediately after the summarized, ho-hum version of my medical history and why I was in her office, (Little did I know that she was using her super stealth x-ray intuition to see right through the glossed version I wanted to tell her, to the real truth that I didn’t even know.) she didn’t walk to her note pad to write down her recommendation of a probiotic as I told her I wanted. Instead, she walked over to her shelf and picked up a book. Not one of those big, heavy medical references either. It was a small, hard back with a watercolor jacket. You know, real touchy feely looking.
I’m thinking she could even see my inner eye-roll as she began to explain that sometimes physical illness and pain are manifestations of inner, emotional struggle. I wasn’t buying it (I mean, I have mountains of blood work and test results to prove this is not in my head…or my heart), but I was nodding and smiling, waiting for my chance to bolt from her office. Maybe that’s why she showed me the page and pointed to the word “lupus” when she read the next part out loud. Under “probable cause” she read, “A giving up. Better to die than stand up for oneself. Anger and punishment.” For whatever reason, it was hard to keep smiling when she read it aloud to me. Tears involuntarily filled my eyes (I wasn’t about to let them fall). Then she said, “Oh! I see that has some truth in it for you. Does that describe you?” (Ok, now the tears were falling.)
I have to be honest and say that anyone who’s spent much time with me knows that I can be emotional, but crying in a chiropractor’s office minutes after I’d met her seemed a little off. I didn’t really answer her question, but I knew that people cry when something touches a core value for them. In my heart, somewhere, I knew at least part of this rang true for me. She did go write something on a piece of paper at that point, but it wasn’t about probiotics. It was an affirmation (picture my skepticism pushing the eject button and shooting me right through the roof in that moment).
So I left her office, affirmation in hand, with directions to say it out loud at least three times a day. Now I started looking for other skeptics, just to lay the ground work for getting out of this whole affirmation thing. After all, I’m not an affirmation person. I told a good friend in the parking lot of the swimming pool, when she asked about my appointment. I was pretty sure she agreed. Good! I told my husband that night while making dinner, when he asked. He quickly replied with, “Do it!” What!?! How could this bearded, mountain man that frequently dons a sweatshirt that labels him as “grumpy,” be telling me to read affirmations aloud as part of a medical plan? I guess I wasn’t getting out of this.
Admittedly, I didn’t look proudly in the mirror and speak in a loud and clear voice as I said my affirmation three times a day. I did mumble it once or twice in the kitchen while I was busy doing other things. I wasn’t sure it was doing anything, but I was giving it a halfhearted try. It took me quite a while to realize that saying my affirmation or thinking of those words I heard my chiropractor say out loud, “…better to die than stand up for oneself…” didn’t bring tears to my eyes anymore. I will share my first affirmation here, not to make the reader uncomfortable or over share, affirmations can be a pretty private part of self improvement. It’s here to illustrate my reluctance and eventual buy-in to this idea of affirmations.
“I speak up for myself freely and easily. I claim my own power. I love and approve of myself. I am free and safe.”
It was the “…love and approve…” part that I always stumbled over, sometimes tearing up. I started to put more emphasis on those words that I had trouble with. Maybe I did begin to say them in an almost loud and proud voice. I think it’s even possible that I may have started to believe them too.
It occurred to me the other day that this really wasn’t my first affirmation. I’ve always been a “fake-it-’til-you-make-it” kind of girl, even encouraging my students to do the same when I was teaching. You don’t feel happy today? Fake it ’til you make it. Smile! You don’t think you’re a good reader? Fake it ’til you make it. Read on! You don’t feel excited about learning today? Fake it ’til you make it. Participate! Affirmations have been popping up all over the place now that I know what I’m looking for. I even think I heard one in the Adele song Someone Like You the other day. She says, “I wish nothing but the best for you two.” and “I’ll find someone like you.” Isn’t it possible that she’s just faking it ’til she makes it too? It really works. The more you smile (even when you don’t feel like smiling) the more you DO feel like smiling, on the inside and out. Some people call it being positive. Others believe that what you put out there for the universe to hear and see, comes right back to you like a magnet. I think you could even call it goal setting.
Whatever you want to call it, it may just be a step in your own journey of good health and self improvement. I’ve taken my affirmations the next step recently, by writing them down. I’ve been outspoken about my lack of enthusiasm for journaling, list making, and goal writing (not setting). But the teacher in me has finally won over the neigh sayer in the kinesthetic value of writing something in addition to thinking it. It firmly sets it in the mind (and soul in this case) and gives you a written reason to follow through with it. Writing down my affirmations has been pretty painless with the little “fitspiration” journal I found in Target. It’s authored by someone from my very own hometown, “chief fitlosopher” herself, Angela Mader. It was sincerely the best journal I could find to meet my needs. You can find it and her other health/fitness products at Walgreen’s, Target, and online at getfitbook.com.
If you’re ready to give affirmations a try, or even if you’re ready to try them with skepticism and reluctance, as I was, you can certainly write your own. Just think of something you’re working toward in your life, and state it in a positive, first person sentence, as though you’re already doing it or believing it. Write it down, and say it out loud three times a day. You can work with more than one at a time. I’ve included some below if you need a little help getting started like me. A quick google search can easily come up with some that may work for you too.
Here are some by Edwene Gaines’ from her book, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity:
- I choose in this moment to release all sense of burden, struggle, and fear.
- I choose to live in trust.
- I have wonderful gifts to give, and I choose to give generously.
- I have wonderful gifts to receive, and I receive joyously.
- I am joyous, peaceful, healthy, enthusiastic, wise, loving and rich. Praise God!
- Never do I seek personal credit, I glorify God in all that I do.
- I forgive myself completely for every mistake I have ever made.
- I forgive others, knowing that we all did the best we could at the time.
- I let go of blame, shame, judgement, and hurt.
We love it when you join us in our imperfect progress. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.