There is a question I ask many clients at some point in our coaching relationship. It is a seemingly simple query and yet invariably results in the same, conditional response.
The question is “Can you openly and honestly say you love yourself?”
Frequently the answer is an unconvincing “yes”, followed by an explanation that begins with “except for …”
And the “except for” often led to reviewing a 47 page document filled with self-critical judgement, filled with statements like I’m too: short/tall, fat/thin, timid/aggressive, unlikeable/unattractive, unskilled/weak, and many others, essentially leaving very little left over to love.
I have long been a firm believer in the remarkable power of affirmations.
We become the product of the story we tell ourselves and affirmations are the “truths” that we reinforce to ourselves, most often with unconscious frequency.
We Are All Using Affirmations
Many clients share with me that they do not believe in affirmations, yet each of us is a regular practitioner of affirmations, many of which are self-critical, negative, restrictive, deflating and devaluing.
And over time they sculpt us – with exact precision – to become who we are.
It is estimated we have between 60,000 to 65,000 thoughts per day – many of them are descriptive of how we may feel about ourselves in the moment.
In helping clients create and select affirmations for their own use, I always recommend one particular statement I firmly believe is the foundational affirmation upon which all others are built and, the one that is absolutely necessary for us to begin shaping the person we wish to be.
It is extremely difficult to reshape our thinking, reprogram our beliefs and repurpose our vision if we cannot first accept ourselves for who we are – warts and all.
Many of us go to great lengths to prevent the rest of the world from seeing our warts. We cover ourselves in armor, and wear masks in the hope of convincing those around us that we are living lives void of flaw, fear, anxiety and desperation.
And, truth be known, we hope that by doing this – removing our warts from being seen – we will convince ourselves they no longer exist.
If we are honest with ourselves, then we know that while the world may not be aware of who we really are, we cannot fool ourselves.
I ask every client, regardless of how long or short their list of affirmations may be, to always begin with this powerful statement: “I love myself unconditionally.”
This is not a statement of conceit or arrogance, it is about complete, non-judging self-acceptance. Given the opportunity for a do-over, we would all go back in time and do many things differently.
We all have regrets for past actions and events, sorrow and shame for past behaviors, embarrassment, self-anger and self-disappointment for past performance and to move forward it is essential that we accept ourselves – without judgment or recrimination – for who we are.
This does not absolve us from past transgressions nor give us license for future ones, it simply and necessarily allows us to become okay with whom we are.
To love ourselves unconditionally is to accept our humanness, understanding that acceptance is the only foundation upon which we can build new sets of beliefs and emotions which will, in turn, drive new actions and behaviors to enable us to build the lives we want.
It Starts With Self Love
Remember, we always become the story we tell ourselves. If you feel it is time for a complete makeover then do yourself one simple life affirming favor and begin your new story by repeatedly reminding yourself to love yourself unconditionally.
Then with every fiber of your being, work to make it so.
If you would like some help creating and using affirmations in your own life, go to the “Free Downloads” section of my website and download my Words Into Action Affirmation Planner at no cost.
Till we read again.