Affirmations are a big part of Adventures in Attitudes. In this project we took time to explore and create possible affirmations in many areas of our lives. The idea, as Bob puts it, is to “allow your mind to be so consumed by positive declarations that all images of fear, doubt and negative thinking completely disappear”.
I don’t know that we will completely eliminate negative thoughts since our brain is designed for survival and a certain amount of negative thoughts helps us evaluate the world around us. But I must admit, and you will probably agree, that we tend to focus far too much on the negative; on what we can’t do, rather than what we can do; what we lack, rather than what we have. Just tune into your self-talk for one full day and see what your percentage of positive to negative might be. I know I have had days when the negative seems to take over but, thanks to AiA, I am at least aware of what is going on and have found that I can, in fact, take some control of the self talk.
This is where affirmations come in. When you find yourself using negative self-talk reach into your reservoir of positive affirmations and find one to counter it.
In this exercise we took time to review short lists of positive affirmations in:
- Work - ex: I am motivated to take the initiative and contribute innovative ideas.
- Self-Acceptance - ex: I look at myself with interest, humor, and lightness.
- Growth - ex: I am growing day by day, in new and positive ways.
- Relationships with Others - ex: I am flexible and tolerant in all my relationships.
- Personality - ex: I am able to handle my emotions with appropriate responses to others.
- Spirituality - ex: I grow in love daily.
- Health - ex: I possess endless reserves of health, energy, and endurance.
- Skill - ex: I am completely confident, poised, and relaxed.
The idea is to come up with an affirmation in each of these areas that might begin with “I AM” or “I CAN”. If you think about it, good problem solving really relies on that type of mindset - looking for what you CAN do instead of dwelling on what you CAN’T do. There is a movement today around mindset made popular by Carol Dweck in her book entitle, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.
So, once again it seems that AiA was ahead of its time.
As I reviewed the affirmations I selected many years ago I see that I have been using a variety of renditions of those I worked with that day. But seeing this exercise again today I know that at this point in my life the one I want to work with is in the area of Relationships with Others. I have always prided myself on being positive and seeing the good in others. But as I look at these lists again, and examine my thoughts, I see that I have strayed from this too often and need to take charge of my thoughts in this area. After all, relationships are really what life is all about.
So, my working affirmation from the AiA list is “I give to others the same love, respect and helpfulness that I desire for myself”.
A quote from Bob Conklin in this project adds to my thinking:
“When you go into a dark room, you don’t try to push out the darkness, you simply turn on the light”.
I will add to that the fact that a whole room full of darkness can be dispelled with a small candle. Try it sometime and then consider the darkness you can dispel in someone’s life by bringing in a small bit of light through an encouraging word or action.