Affirmations as emotional first aid

At the outset, I’d like to make it clear that this is not about how “thinking positive” can ensure mental wellness. No. While these are positive affirmations, they are not stupid, insensitive mantras on the lines of “positive vibes only!”. “Positive” means constructive to me when it comes to mental health.

I’m putting this out here because I sure would have liked to stumble upon something like this earlier in life. This is by no means a substitute for therapy or other forms of specialized help.

So how and why did I start using affirmations?

There are times when I just lie in bed, thinking about how life seems like a never-ending series of losses, with no win in sight. I am not an expert, so I can’t categorize this as anxiety or depression or a combination of both.

During times like these, I also look at people around me, how sorted they seem, how sure-footed they are about life decisions, and how they make living look so easy. They seem to have a road map that does not need deviating from, they don’t seem to need as much acceptance from their circle as I do from mine. Equally, they don’t seem to need as much space from human beings as I do.

Therapy helped me discover something about me I probably should have on my own: I am unable to accept my flaws. I am extremely hard on myself when I mess up. I feel guilt and shame even when it is unwarranted. I was contemplating this and wondering how I can get out of this rut, and I kept going back to the time my cousin told me things that affirmed the goodness in me, how life is more than my mistakes. “I believe in you”, she’d often say. Just recalling those words made me feel better.

The next thing I knew, I was searching for things I can tell myself when people like my cousin aren’t available. I did find a few, and I made posters out of them so I can look at them whenever I needed to self-soothe.

If you’ve read up to here, I am sorry for doing the same thing that I hate about food bloggers: making you plod through an annoying introduction to get to the magic recipe. Without further ado, here you go:

When healing feels too slow

I use this to remind myself that healing is not linear. And that that is okay.

When you are anxious about where life is headed

I use this during times when I compare myself to people who are in a better place than me in life.

When you are hurting

This is especially relevant to people who tend to think they should not feel a certain way.

If you are struggling with putting yourself first

Use this if you tend to forgo your happiness to make another comfortable. A good example would be when a person would rather take things lying down than communicating their boundaries and enforcing them in relationships, because those boundaries would make the other person uncomfortable.

If you don’t trust yourself to make the right decisions

Use this if you often second-guess yourself, or if you look to others to make your decisions.

When you are struggling to forgive yourself

I am working on another set of affirmation posters, and I’ll post them here soon.

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