Thank you, Mandi, for this inspiring picture!! Remember, folks: “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and DOGGONE IT, people like you!!!”
Thank you, Mandi, for this inspiring picture!! Remember, folks: “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and DOGGONE IT, people like you!!!”
Lately I’ve been rather distracted at work. It seems that if I don’t have non-stop, thought-provoking work to keep me busy, I get involved in other things. Flipping around on webpages, reading my kindle for PC, working on Crazy Jay’s Christmas gifts, and, oh, yeah…writing and reading blog posts. There is a lot of work that I have let slide. The boring, tedious work that needs to be done on a daily basis, but that is not so important that it will matter too much if you miss a day. Or sixteen.
Today I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed with all I have to do. There is an air of stress and urgency in the office anyway, though none of it is directed towards me, or most of the work I do on a regular basis. I decided that I would create an affirmation to help me stay focused and get the maximum amount of work done. Once I’m finished writing this post, that is.
On a large post-it note placed on a prominent area on my desk I have written the following affirmation:
I stay focused and motivated. I am able to complete all the necessary tasks with ease.
Every time (again, after this!!) I feel my mind straying, or I start to feel overwhelmed, I am going to repeat this affirmation. I am quite sure today will be my most productive in a long time!
“I am wonderful and I feel great. I am grateful for my life.”
I really like this affirmation. It takes care of three separate issues with only two short sentences.
“I am wonderful…” This part just makes me smile, and reinforces the good feelings I have towards myself. If someone told you that you were wonderful, wouldn’t that just make your day? I don’t discount this statement just because it’s coming from myself. I am just as important and what I say holds just as much weight as everyone else. I am wonderful!!
“…and I feel great.” This helps me keep up not only the good emotional feelings, but also helps me feel physically well. If I focus on the fact that it’s early, I’m tired, I have a full day ahead, I’ll be bogged down with stress, etc, then I will start to feel poor physically. My head will start to hurt and my stomach will tie itself in knots. I believe that a lot of the negative physical things we feel are a direct result of how we feel emotionally, or in our heads, about ourselves. Think of that old commercial for depression: “Who does depression hurt? Everyone. WHERE does depression hurt? Everywhere.” If you feel badly about yourself, your body will start to manifest this physically.
“I am grateful for my life.” Of course, this sentence helps to remind me of all the blessings I have in my life (my husband, my dogs, my job, my vehicle, my house, food in my belly, money for bills…I could go on and on!). It’s easy to think about the BAD parts of what should be a blessing: The car breaking down, the fights with your spouse, the stress at work, the annoying kids, the bills bills bills! Focusing on the negative parts will make you miss the blessing. God has blessed me tremendously, and I don’t want to forget it!
I really like affirmations that I feel work on several different levels. I like to dissect the affirmations I say so that I truly understand what I am saying, what I am believing, and what I am putting out into the world (or the Universe, if you will). Just saying fluffy, feel-good words over and over won’t do anything. In order to make affirmations work for you, you have to really understand and believe what you are saying.
I’m going to have a marvelous day today. I hope everyone else does, too!
Things have been more stressful than usual at work lately. The project is coming to an end, so there is a huge push to get everything done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Everyone is having to put in a lot of hours this week, and the overall tone in the office is almost panicky. Throughout the past week or so, I have been going through affirmations to help with stress and anxiety. As a result, I have been more upbeat and far less stressed than my co-workers.
Yesterday was particularly difficult. The last hour or two of my 11.5 hour day my neck and shoulders were stiff. My head was starting to fill with anger, and negative thoughts. I thought I should change my affirmation up a little to address the issues I was experiencing. For the remaining hours of my day, and the entire drive home, I was repeating:
I release all negativity that rests in my body and in my mind.
When I got home last night, Jay and I had a very enjoyable evening. We played some darts (who knew Crazy Jay was such a tosser?) and talked smack while doing so. Jay lost the game. He couldn’t stay in the moment like I could. Don’t let him tell you differently, either!! Then, we watched some TV, and spent time talking.
An hour or so into the evening, I told Jay the affirmation I had been repeating on the way home. He laughed at me. Then I asked him how he thought it worked. I was the one to start laughing when Jay grudgingly admitted the affirmation seemed to work pretty well. I was happy to show him that affirmations can be effective. It’s not just saying something soft and squishy to yourself. It’s not an act of weakness. It’s about taking your mind off the negative feelings and thoughts you’re having, and refocusing to something positive. Feelings are only thoughts that we have about ourselves, and thoughts can be changed.
I don’t have any negative thoughts or feelings rolling around in my head or body right now, so my affirmation for the day will be:
I am wonderful and I feel great. I am grateful for my life.
Crazy Jay and I got into it a little last night. Overreaction on his part led to overreaction on my part until it was a much bigger mess than it needed to be. I’m trying not to be upset at myself over my part in the fight and continued escalation. The situation is passed, so there is no sense in me brooding over it all day, and making myself feel worse. I have assessed the situation, and decided what I need to do differently in the future. I am not beating myself up, but finding a lesson in this experience.
I have been feeling a little down today because of last night, and then having no contact with Jay this morning. I wrote down my affirmation of the day on a sticky note and placed it on my desk. Every time I want to feel sorry for myself, or angry at Crazy Jay, or angry at MYSELF, I repeat the affirmation at least once.
“I am the only power in my world, and I create a peaceful, loving, joyful, fulfilling life.”
No matter what happens, no matter who says or does what to me, I am the one who decides how I feel, and what I want to focus on. I do not want a sub par day, thinking about the fight from the night before. This is the only moment I can live in, and I choose to make it wonderful.
For at least the past four years, I’ve been considered to have borderline personality disorder. I believe I was showing signs of it many years before, but it’s only been in the past four years that I’ve been diagnosed as such. As recently as the beginning of August, I was on Wikipedia, comparing my symptoms to those listed in the DSM IV. After reviewing the criteria for BPD those couple months ago, I reported back to Crazy Jay that I still exhibited about 95% of the symptoms. I was actually pleased back in August to see that I would still be considered a raging borderline. I was still crazy. Whew. What a relief. At that time, I believed that if I clung to the borderline personality diagnosis hard enough, I wouldn’t have to do anything to change my behavior. Don’t get me wrong: I WANTED to change. I felt miserable. My life was chaotic. I was depressed and contemplating suicide…again. I had purchased new tools to self harm…again. My problem was that I didn’t know HOW to change. In fact, I was at a point where I really thought it was next to impossible for me to make any positive changes. I tried pharmaceuticals. I tried trusting God to change me. I’d attended dialectical behavioral therapy and tried to study Marsha Linehan’s approach to helping those with BPD. I tried drinking my troubles away. I had numerous individual therapists. I tried reading books on the subject. Nothing really seemed to help me. Oh, I may have gotten better for a couple days, but I wasn’t able to hold onto the “change” for very long at all. That’s because it wasn’t a real change. I was trying to force my mind to do and believe things that went against my very core. Of course, what I believed in my core was wrong, but it still makes it difficult to change one’s behavior if old beliefs are held onto.
Jay and I started seeing a therapist together this past May. Since we both had pretty much hit rock bottom personally, our marriage was showing signs of distress. The therapist we saw was unlike any other we had sought help from in the past. If you’ve been following Crazy Jay’s and my blogs, I have been calling her “Unconventional Therapist”, and Jay has been calling her “New Age Therapy Chick”, or NATC. She focuses more on Eastern philosophies. She introduced us to the Emotional Freedom Technique which involves tapping on pressure points of the body while repeating affirmations. She uses oil remedies for emotional and physical issues. She focuses on being in the moment instead of brooding about the past or pondering the future. She also led me to the book that I feel completely changed my perspective on life in general, my attitude, and how I need be living. “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay has taught me that loving myself can go a long way in helping me feel better. Focusing on the negative will bring negative into my life. Sending negative thoughts/comments/actions into the world towards others will bring negative into my life. The best thing I can do for myself, and for everyone else is to love, respect, and forgive myself. If I am able to do that for myself, it will be much easier to do that for other people.
I have been feeling tremendously wonderful this past month. I can’t believe it’s only been a month. I never thought I would feel a fraction of the joy and overall positivity I feel now. Daily stresses don’t seem to bother me. Jay and I have a much more peaceful, understanding relationship. My anxiety has decreased to almost nothing. My depression is gone. I am treating myself better, both physically and emotionally. I do still have issues to deal with, but I feel that I can now actually focus on that issue, and take care of it so that it does not pop up and bother me again. Three months ago, however, I wouldn’t have really been able to start working on this issue. It was too difficult stepping over the steaming piles of pain, anger and depression to focus on anything else.
Today I pulled up Wikipedia’s page on borderline personality disorder. Any guesses as to how many criteria I met? Let me start by saying that, at my worst, I knocked all nine outta the park. I won’t go into any more detail about how things were at my worst, but start reading through my early blog posts if you want a clear picture. Today, however, is a new day. Today, I do not meet ONE criterion. If I was examined by a shrink or some doctor today, I would NOT be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
I know that I have only been feeling exceptionally awesome for about a month, but I can tell this time is different. This time I have changed my way of thinking and my thoughts. This time when I am nice to Jay, it is not because I am clenching my teeth shut so I don’t spew venom. This time I’m nice to Jay because all I hold in my head are soft, loving thoughts about him. I don’t allow myself to think negative thoughts. Not about myself. Not about Jay. Not about my co-workers, or traffic, or the slower cashier at the grocery store. Not even about my birth family. I am in the process of forgiving all from my past that I feel have wronged me, and I feel free. I am happy. I am content. I’ve found a way of thinking that works for me.
In the past, my BPD would come in cycles, as I’m sure is the case for most. I would have a looooong string of bad days, with a couple good thrown in. The rare good days could last from one day to maybe four or five, if I was “lucky”. Even on those “good” days, I would struggle with my thoughts. I was ALWAYS at war with my thoughts. A “good” day meant I didn’t punch a hole in the wall. I would just go to my car and punch on it so I didn’t leave marks (well, not on the car, that is). A “good” day meant I was only mean and snarky for a small portion of the day instead of the entire thing. A “good” day meant I only picked the scabs off of my arms and legs instead of creating new cuts. Even my “good” days were bad days.
I don’t expect my life to be perfect now. Of course things will come up. Things HAVE been coming up. It’s important to keep in mind that things will ALWAYS come up. That is the way of life. What matters is not what happens, but how you deal with it. What matters is not what others say or do to you. What matters is how you choose to react and what you choose to believe about yourself. I choose to love myself, tell myself I’m wonderful, and have an amazing day.
I woke up this morning and made sure I had a good attitude. I affirmed that it would be a good day, and that I was excited about the upcoming possibilities. Sounds hokey, but it made me feel pretty good. Every time I’ve thought through that affirmation, I smile. I was grinning from ear to ear on the way to work. I’m sure I looked like a fool. I know I didn’t care.
I really am amazed at how well these silly sounding affirmations work. Yesterday evening had the potential to be disastrous. Instead of thinking, “Oh no! This is going to be a crappy, stressful night. I think I’ll stay late at work to avoid it.”, I ran through positive affirmations. All afternoon and all the way home from work, I was repeating to myself “All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Only good can come from this situation. I am safe.” After a few minutes, I wasn’t anxious about the upcoming evening. This affirmation can be used for anything, but seems to be good when one is worrying or anxious. Now, I don’t know if I yet believe that we create our experiences based on our thoughts, but I know that I FELT tremendously better than I would have if I was worrying and anxious all afternoon.
I think the whole idea is that how we THINK is really what shapes an experience. If we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, we will have a lot of negative experiences. If I went home last night with the thought in my head that it was going to be a difficult evening, I probably would have walked through the door on edge. If I had been edgy, that would have made the entire situation precarious, and, most likely, explosive. I went home thinking that everything was going to work out for my good (which is a Biblical principle, so not a huge stretch for me), and I had a very nice evening. This morning I started the day stating that I was excited for what could possibly happen, and that I would have a good day today. I know it’s not quite one o-clock, but so far a great day! I’m not feeling stressed, and the silly office bullshit I have to deal with isn’t bothering me in the slightest.
I know I’m not changing events with the power of my mind, but I am continuously surprised by how running positive thoughts through my head all day keeps me out of the low, angry moods I’m prone to. Bad things are going to continue to happen, but I don’t have to let them affect me like I have in the past. After all, it’s not what happens – it’s how we react to it.
This may all seem like a stretch, and I thought it was completely ridiculous when I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”. However, constantly repeating to myself that I love and approve of myself started to turn my mood the very same day. I have a desire to feel stupid and silly while talking about all this positive affirmation stuff, but I can’t deny that it works. Read some of my many negative, angry, struggling past blog posts if you doubt me.
“I choose to feel good about myself. It does not matter what other people say. What matters is how I choose to react and what I choose to believe about myself.” – affirmation from “21 Days to Master Affirmations” by Louise Hay
“Self-hatred is only hating a thought you have about yourself, and thoughts can be changed.”
You know how some people will ask how you’re doing, and when you start to tell them honestly, they respond in irritation with, “Everyone’s got problems!” Whatever the context, I’m quite sure all of us have heard this from time to time. Either directed at ourselves, or someone else who can’t seem to keep it together.
I was pondering this the other day. Yes, everyone has problems, but why do they seem so HUGE for some, myself, at times, included? As I type this, I realize the answer is obvious, but it seemed novel to me at the time. Yes, everyone has problems, but not everyone is equipped to deal with their problems. Not everyone has the tools to solve their problems and keep them from returning.
Up until recently, I thought it was impossible for ME to learn to use these tools on a regular basis. I knew that the way I was raised caused me to wrongly react to things, but I also thought that I could sit back and blame the way I was raised. I was not taught how to deal with many situations. I was not taught how to act in interpersonal relationships. I was taught to be critical and negative so as not to become disappointed. That doesn’t mean I can’t change any of that, though. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. No, I do not have to have a screwed up life.
When I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”, I was depressed and angry. I was considering starting to self harm again. I thought there was no way out, and nothing I could do to change anything. I had tried desperately to change what I said and how I acted. All I managed to do was frustrate, become angry at, and blame myself for not being what I thought I “should” be.
As I began reading, though, my outlook started to change. I realized I had the ability to change what was going on with me. The author says that one has to change how they think about themselves before they can expect their lives to change. I thought it was a lot of touchy-feely-sit-around-a-camp-fire-naked-and-cry-while-singing-koom-by-ya kinda thing. It seems silly that just being nice to yourself and liking yourself is going to change anything. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to me, as a borderline, to even begin to show self-love. The entire concept seemed foreign.
It starts off with baby steps, though. Not being critical of yourself, not having negative views about yourself, only telling yourself nice things, repeating affirmations, etc. If one goes through life thinking they are shit and don’t deserve happiness, they will never obtain happiness. If one thinks that everyone is out to get them, that is what they will see in their life. What you view about yourself will manifest in your life. I KNOW this seems crazy, but it really seems to work!
Think about it, though. If you believe, deep down, that you will never be happy, how will you be able to LET yourself be happy? Letting yourself be happy would go against everything you truly believe! If you believe everyone is out to get you, that is all that you will see in each interaction with people.
Conversely, if you tell yourself you deserve to be happy, it will come. If you tell yourself that you love yourself, you will not see a need to be overly critical. If you forgive other people for their faults, you’ll be more able to forgive yourself the faults you possess.
I have been repeating affirmations to myself over the past week. “I completely love and accept myself.” “I deserve to be _____, and I accept it now.” “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it.” I think you get the point. I have seen a difference in how I treat myself since I’ve started doing this. I have been showering on a daily basis, and using smelly bath stuff. I have been using lotions. I have been exercising some. I have been eating better. I have been sleeping better. It’s like I finally convinced myself that I am WORTHY of being treated well, and I am doing that for myself. The above things have been difficult for me in the past because I never thought I was worthy of anything other than pain and misery, and that’s how I treated myself.
I have also been treating other people better. I do not get as frustrated with my coworkers, and I have not been lashing out at Crazy Jay. I do not look for the negative in everything and find ways to tell others that they’re wrong. I am not as critical, and am more willing to over look things others do that bother me.
Here’s something else COMPLETELY CRAZY: Crappy things have happened this past week, but I am not really bothered by them. Jay and I have had a tiff or two, but it was quickly nipped in the bud, and I didn’t brood about it all day. I am not as stressed out at work, even though there is a HUGE invoicing mess that I’ve been dealing with. Everything seems to roll off my back much easier than it ever has in my life. Maybe this is what my unconventional therapist meant when she told me to “be an observer”. It’s like the bullshit that other people throw my way doesn’t even touch me.
I guess maybe I should have started with this next part. Then maybe people would have read all the way through. I am not struggling and straining to “get through” each problem that comes my way. I do not have to bite my tongue or deeply consider what I say. Because I have changed my outlook on things, and the way I view myself, it’s not hard to be nice, because I FEEL nice. It’s not hard to contain my frustration, because I don’t FEEL it anywhere near the same level I used to. It’s not hard to “act” happy, because I AM happy. I am not trying to twist my mind into doing something that it doesn’t want to do. I am in the process of retraining my mind so that it wants to do what I want it to do, and not just react to things that trigger childhood memories. I changed my fundamental beliefs about myself and my life, and I have seen an almost immediate change. It helps that Jay is going through the same book as me, and is seeing things the same way. Even if he wasn’t, though, I think I would be ok. I think I am going to get through all this. In fact, I can see it as I look over my shoulder, getting smaller in the distance. I AM going to have a full, happy life. I AM worthy, and deserve good things. I AM lovable and capable of showing love. I AM willing to release the negative patterns in my mind. Holy shit…I think I can do this thing, after all.
In the book I’m reading, “You Can Heal Your Life”, Louise Hay talks a lot about the idea of Karma. I don’t think she has actually used the word “Karma” when discussing her beliefs. She basically says that what you put out in the universe is what you get back. If you hold onto negative thoughts and feelings, you will receive negativity from “the universe”. If you put out love and good thoughts, that is what you will get back. Watch the below video to see what “the universe” or Karma does to a man who steals a woman’s purse. You only have to watch the first 12 seconds to see the STREET JUSTICE!!