Self-Esteem Boosting Affirmations

I’m sure you’ve heard all the hype about affirmations — positive statements about yourself or the future that can change your life. Some people believe affirmations are nothing more than a load of BS… but there is research out there that would suggest otherwise.

Recently, I was listening to a report on NPR about a study that was conducted regarding the power of the mind in the production of hormones that were not naturally present in the body. Essentially, the people who had the hormone present were told they didn’t have it and the people who didn’t have the hormone were told they did. What happened was that their bodies responded to this new information in their minds and the mere belief that the hormone was present resulted in changes in their physiology!! The people who previously had the hormone and were told they didn’t have it, stopped producing it! And vice versa! So, the belief that this hormone was present or not present resulted in changes in their body that mirrored what they perceived in their minds!

In short, what you tell yourself matters on so many levels. Emotionally and biologically! Why not give affirmations a shot?

Where do I start?

If you’re new to this, or your new to the self-esteem affirmations you may need some guidance. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, let’s start by picking one or two things you like about yourself and write them down. We will focus on present beliefs and the development of future beliefs about yourself. Answer these questions and write the answers down:

  1. What physical attributes do I like/love about myself?
  2. What personality characteristics do I have that I like?
  3. What compliments have other people given me? (Often times, people see more positive things in us than we are willing to acknowledge in ourselves. If you are complimented often about your eyes, or your hair or your kind spirit, these people are on to something.)

Future-Oriented Affirmations

Now that you’ve got down the current things you can acknowledge, it is important to focus on the future. By talking about what you would like to feel about yourself in the future as if it is already happening, you can strengthen those beliefs. For example, one of my future-oriented affirmations is “I am enough.” My brain likes to throw up this old belief that I am somehow not good enough, smart enough, successful enough… blah blah blah. So by telling myself in the present “I AM ENOUGH” I learn to believe it. When those other thoughts pop up, I can fight back with “I AM ENOUGH!!” Ask yourself these questions and write the answers down:

  1. What physical attributes about myself would I like to feel good about?
  2. What characteristics would I like to develop?
  3. What would I like to believe about myself?

Excellent job!! Now that you’ve got all those written down, simply put “I AM” in front of each of them. Bam! Self-esteem affirmations! It’s hard. I know. But tell those things to yourself every day and you will begin to see the truth. That you are beautiful. That you are strong. That you are enough!

If you need some additional help, here are some great examples from Affirm Your Life — my favorite spot for affirmations on the web:

By loving myself, I allow others to love me as well.

Every day I appreciate myself more and more.

Feeling appreciated is one of the top priorities in my life, and I practice this feeling every day.

I accept myself for who I truly am, and give myself permission to grow beyond this.

I acknowledge all I have accomplished and am proud of my achievements.

I am a beautiful person.

I am a good person just as I am.

I am a magnificent, radiant being.

If you like those, it’s just the beginning. There are thousands of affirmations about so many topics! Go check out more affirmations from Affirm Your Life! They even have an app!

Learning to Love Yourself

Learning to love yourself is not an easy thing to do. It may be one of the tougher things, if not the toughest, you do in your whole life. We put ourselves at the bottom of the list almost every time. When things are piling up, we sacrifice so others don’t have to go without — we eat poorly, we stay up too late, we run ourselves ragged — and this seems to be a reflection of how we feel about ourselves as compared to how we feel about others around us.

Last night, in sharing some wisdom with my beautiful niece, I recalled the first moment (after my self-esteem tanked in middle school) that I realized that maybe I was not 100% disgusting/ugly/fat/bound to be rejected for the rest of my life. It was 10th grade. But first, let me give you some context.

7 year old me

I grew up with teeth that I inherited directly from my father.

I’d call them quite “gappy” and on top of it all, I sucked my middle two fingers until I was 12 or something absurd like that…

11 year old me

So, I had a gap. I was very sensitive about this gap and I don’t know why. I can’t actually recall anyone making fun of it. But many of the pictures I looked through show me with a closed mouth smile — even today that’s my go to smile. Anyway… I digress. By the time my 12 year molars started coming in, the gap started closing – as you can see in the 2nd picture. But in my mind my teeth were still a train wreck, until that day in the 10th grade.

I was sitting in geography class beside this guy who I thought was super hot. He had braces and said something about how much he hated them. I made a comment that he was lucky to have them (because my mom could never have afforded braces for me) and that I wished I had braces. He looked shocked and said back to me “your teeth are perfect!”

Then I was the one who was shocked. You mean to tell me that other people can look at me and see something pleasant or perfect even? Even if it’s just my teeth… That’s somewhere I could start. So I began gently, by finding what I liked about myself. It’s hard. It’s almost excruciating to sit down and make a list of what you love about yourself. But do it anyway. I started with the fact that I liked my cute little nose and my pretty feet. Then I grew to find qualities about myself that I liked — I am kind, I am funny, I am loving.

As I acknowledged these things about myself, it became easier and easier to find other things about myself that I liked. Eventually, I began to believe my whole face was pretty. Not just my teeth and my nose. Recently, I have been able to feel like my entire body is beautiful (thanks to the others in the body positive movement).

Last night, I told my niece I loved her out loud. Then I told my mom. Then I told myself. Out loud. So other people could hear… that I loved me. It was a little funny but super important. And powerful. And it felt really good!!! Have you ever said that to yourself? “[Your name here], I love you!” Try it.

It’s not an easy process. It’s a long process. It’s been 23 years since the 10th grade… wow. But I’m here. And I love me. And if I can get here, so can you! Start with a list of just few things you like about yourself. Maybe you’ll struggle to find even one… but find it. Then look in the mirror everyday and acknowledge that you like it. Then listen to the people that love you and acknowledge in yourself what they acknowledge in you. Start praising those parts of yourself too. Eventually, you will start seeing more of what you love about you than what you don’t love about you. And eventually, you will start treating yourself as if you actually love yourself like you love those around you.