When the movie “The Help” came out in 2011, affirmations seemed to be the next best thing. I heard the quote “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” everywhere. It was incredible. People were not only re-stating the quote and re-using it in their everyday lives, they appeared to feel joy over the power of the words. The part where this quote is said in the movie, provided an image of love and positive self-esteem to a world that is very self-critical.
In the clinical sphere, affirmations are helpful in challenging negative thinking patterns and provide a calming effect to a person’s internal safety. When a person states an affirmation to either vocally or in their mind, they are affirming particular parts of themselves that have been rejected, distorted or harmed by important people they’ve looked to tell them the truth of who they are.
Therefore, when choosing affirming statements, it’s important to choose statements that need to be remembered, integrated and appreciated. For example, if I already really believe I am smart, it may not be helpful to say, “I am smart” but if I struggle with believing I am capable, it may be helpful to say “I am capable.” It may sound silly to proclaim something you really do not believe, but it is in the proclamation that helps our brain receive more positive messages that eventually can become internalized.
There are some guided meditations where affirmations are embedded, and these can be really helpful. I provided some of those meditations below. It can also be as equally as helpful to make up your own list of affirming statements and repeat them over and over again, imaging that the words were true for you.