There is a really amazing trend going on right now in the social media world and that is the practice of positive mindset training in the forms of affirmations, meditation, and mindfulness. It is incredible to see so many individuals, especially women and mothers working these practices into their personal lives and into the lives of their children. Talk about sharing goodness!
Let’s first explore one of those areas–affirmations.
An affirmation is composed of the following characteristics:
- Short and powerful statements written or said aloud in the present
- Gives you encouragement and emotional support
- Helps to shift you from a negative mindset to a positive mindset
For example: I am kind. I am beautiful. I am powerful. I love my life.
Additionally, as I’ve studied affirmations in a gospel context, they also often include the following characteristics:
- Short and powerful statements of truth and light confirmed by the Spirit
- Reminders of who we really are, our potential here on earth and who we will be in the life to come (our divine heritage and inheritance)
- Reminders to be more grateful
- Ways for the Spirit to speak to us about things we need to work on, improve, change, achieve or flat out quit!
For example: I am a child of God. I know that God loves me. “I am of infinite worth with my own divine mission, which I will strive to fulfill.” (Personal Progress book, Individual Worth value).
You can write affirmations about anything and everything–your body, your attitude, your finances, your relationships with your spouse/friends/family/God/co-workers/food/exercise/yourself, your goals, etc.
My favorite way to write affirmations out is to take a negative or doubting thought and try to rewrite it in a way that meets the affirmation criteria. I call it the “affirmation turnaround.”
Here are some examples of turning negative thoughts into positive affirmations:
Negative thought: Ugh, look at all that cellulite. My skin looks so bad. Gross, I have so many stretch marks. My body looked so much better before I had kids.
Affirmation turnaround: I love myself. I am beautiful. I am grateful for my body. I know that my body is a gift from God. I am grateful for my two feet. I am grateful for my hands. I am grateful for a sound mind. I know that when I love myself I can love others better.
Negative thought: Sundays are crazy. I’m always so exhausted because I’m wrestling three kids in sacrament meeting by myself. Nursery is crazy because it’s the middle of nap time for so many kids. At least I’m still alive at the end of Sunday.
Affirmation turnaround: I recharge my Spirit on the Sabbath. I know that I will have the spiritual moment that I seek and need on the Sabbath. I feel no stress on the Sabbath — only excitement and high energy. I enjoy resting on the Sabbath and celebrating His day.
Negative thought: I can never get a job. No one wants to hire me. I have no skills.
Affirmation turnaround: I have skills. I am willing to learn new skills to make me more employable. I have resources. I know that I will be a good fit for the right company.
Negative thought: My life isn’t fun. All of my friends are out doing fun things with their families. I’m missing out. I don’t have enough money. I never have enough money. I’ll never be able to move into a house. I don’t like the old van that I drive.
Affirmation turnaround: I love my life. I enjoy doing the simple things with my family. I am right where I should be. I have more than enough for my needs. I receive blessings in all forms and am grateful. I know that when I use my resources wisely and budget well, I am able to do anything I want. I know that the Lord will grant me all the desires of my heart when I keep His commandments and put Him first.
I also love creating affirmations from talks and scriptures. This practice helps me to personalize scriptures and gospel doctrine making principles much easier for me to understand. The Mormon Affirmations blog has some pretty amazing ones, including: “I am cheerfully fulfilling my callings,” “My intuition is to do good and be good” and “Righteous living is rewarded with personal peace”.
And finally, one of my most favorite applications for affirmations is with my children. Using affirmations with them not only helps them to remember who they are and whose they are but especially to help me remember who they are and whose they are and the sacred stewardship I’ve been given to raise them. It helps build their confidence, helps them to be better students, practice more gratitude, be kinder to those around them, etc. I put them on notes in their lunch box, on their walls, or recite them together.
We use affirmations like:
I am kind.
I enjoy learning.
I am good at writing.
I am helpful.
I am grateful.
I choose the right.
I am a good example.
I enjoy listening to my teacher.
I like to sleep.
Sleeping helps me to get rest for my body.
And the list goes on and on and on.
I used to think affirmations and meditations were weirdo hippie practices. I would hear things like, “manifest them into the universe” or “if you put it into the universe the universe will give it back to you” and think…what in the world does that nonsense mean? But as I prayerfully studied affirmations and what these things meant out in my mind over a period of a few weeks, I came to realize, that “manifesting things into the universe” is just another way of asking God to please give you the blessings and gifts he already had in store for you whose requirement is just to merely ask (of course, there are lots of other gifts and blessings that have greater requirements). I found that as I practiced it more, with the guidance of the Spirit, it shifted my entire perspective of not only who I am and what my purpose is here but also who everyone is and who we all are to God–and that is His children.
I grew up in the church and “know” a lot of things. I know a lot of the doctrine. I know about the Godhead, I know about visiting teaching and home teaching and Sunday school and Joseph Smith. I know about the scriptures and prayer and seminary. I know that we are supposed to get married in the temple. I know that God wants us to have a family and raise them in the Gospel. I know that we pay tithes and offerings. I know about personal progress and General Conference and all the things that I should and shouldn’t do and the list goes on and on.
But affirmations, helped me to believe all of these things, to move what I knew in my mind to believe them with my whole soul. They helped me to develop a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior and tune into how the Spirit really speaks to me. Affirmations are the tool that help me consistently strengthen my spirit. It was mindblowing. How did I miss out on all of this for the past 30 years!?
Bonnie Oscarson put it this way:
“We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them?…To believe, we need to get the gospel from our heads into our hearts! It is possible for us to merely go through the motions of living the gospel because it is expected or because it is the culture in which we have grown up or because it is a habit. Perhaps some have not experienced what King Benjamin’s people felt following his compelling sermon: “They all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”3
Affirmations do this for me and for so many people and I know they can have this same effect on anyone who gives them a try, again, under the guidance of the Spirit. They bring about “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts.” They are so powerful, not because they are magic words that just make things happen in the universe with no hard work over long periods of time. They are so powerful because your mind is that powerful. Once your mind is made up about something, your body moves accordingly to accomplish those goals or to make those changes. The things you say start to reflect what you think in your mind.
The practice of affirmations is just a simple tool to help you come to know more light and truth, especially of who you truly are and your limitless, divine potential. As you navigate the wonderful world of mindfulness, meditation, affirmations and positive mindset training, do so prayerfully, always acknowledging God and His goodness. You are His child and He wants you to have a life filled with joy and peace.
I’m Josie, and I look like this on a really, really, REALLY good day. Most days it’s a two-day old mom bun exposing my post-partum baldness (own it!). I have one super handsome husband who fulfilled my 16-year-old wishes of marrying a man who is “big, brown and beautiful.” (He’s so much more than that though). I run a three kid circus 24/7/365 and am lucky to still be in my dream calling at church after four years…nursery! I hope the Lord keeps me in that nursery party calling until I am 95 (angels take note, please!) I’m passionate about journaling, leaving sound advice for my posterity and reminding those around me who they really are–infinite, immortal and eternal. You can find me on the instagram at @mombraindump and I blog every once in a while at mombraindump.com.
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