Thursday, August 13, 2009
When I was a little girl, I read a book called The Little Engine That Could. It was a story about a little steam engine that had to get up a big hill, but didn't think it was possible. She noticed big trains around her and asked each for help, but none would come to her aid. She kept searching until, finally, she came upon another steam engine exactly like her. She asked, "Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars?" and the other little steam engine replied, "Yes, indeed!" The two engines worked as a team and started saying their own mantra, "I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can!" and before you know it, they made it over the hill.
The Little Engine That Could was published in 1930, and still today the story is told and repeated. The idea of having a mantra to get us through tough moments is a basic concept. Just as recent as three years ago, the documentary The Secret reminded viewers that the mind is a very powerful thing. We become who we believe that we are. If we believe that we are beautiful, we begin to see ourselves as beautiful and behave in a manner fitting of the concept. If we believe we are healthy, we eat healthier and do things that healthy people do. Somehow, this seemingly easy practice can be tough to stick with.
I have tried doing positive affirmations for many years. I've keep gratitude journals (where, each day, I'd write all that I am thankful for), and practiced many different positive affirmations. Still, with many things in life, I'd lost interest in the application, mostly because I felt like it wasn't working.
Finally, I just decided that I would not allow myself to be my own worst critic. Rather, I'd be my own personal cheerleader. Before I look in the mirror, I literally tell myself, Expect to see something beautiful. I say "Thank you" to compliments. And when I think I look fat in a photo (something that recently happened), I just think to myself, Okay. So what.
For me, the straightest path to being my best self is to focus on where I am going. I continue to eat well, exercise as often as I can, and love myself for all that I am. I may miss workouts, or eat a handful of cookies, but that doesn't make me bad, it makes me human.
Lululemon Athletica has a challenge. It asks fans to leave notes in public place with positive affirmations and take photos of them to send to Lululemon (click here for details). I like this. I used to make little fortunes for people on my computer, but instead of offering predictions, it would have beautiful quotes on them. I would leave them with tips for waiters, or in bathrooms, on park benches.
Try treating yourself to this kind of positive messaging. Write an affirmation on paper. Feel free to pretty it up with different colors or doodles. Then post it somewhere that you will see it often. When you see it, read it, and take a few deep breaths. Absorb the affirmation into your very being. Give it 30 days, and see what happens.
Share your affirmation with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I choose to use it, you will receive a free gift from Lovelines Apparel.