By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

The SNL self-help parody goes something like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”  The comedian Emo Phillips said, “What you see is what you get.”  There is truth in comedy.

As we go through childhood, we hear at some point that we are bad.  Whether logical or not, other people give us more negative words to describe ourselves.  We tend to replay those words in our heads, sometimes as a way of self-checking our actions and thoughts, and sometimes just because they have become ingrained.  It’s easy to get stuck in negative patterns.  The good news is, we can do something about it!

We can consciously choose to expose ourselves to and repeat positive words or affirmations.  The first step is to recognize our negative words.

Saying “I can’t” is as bad as cussing for the martial artist.  Thinking “I’m dumb, he’s stupid, I’m ugly, she’s fat” or “they won’t like me” also perpetuates negativity.  Realize that when we say or think things like this, we are only exposing ourselves to negative energy which is like poison to us, both mentally and physically.

When we notice that we are using negative words, we can turn that pattern around and purposefully think, say, or repeat something more positive, while still being gentle and loving with ourselves and our shortcomings.  We can give ourselves credit for doing the best that we can, in the present moment.

In Okinawa, positive affirmations, especially for health and healing, are written on special paper and posted near the bed.    That way it is seen at night upon retiring.  What we do or think about before bed is repeated subconsciously, all night, while we are asleep.

When our subconscious absorbs an idea or feeling, our brain works tirelessly to make that into reality (that is all the time, not just while sleeping).  If you think or feel, over and over, that people won’t like you, you will program your brain to believe that is the reality.  Then, your brain will filter through the millions of bits of constant input to notice the proof that people don’t like you: his frown; nobody helping you clean up your spilled papers; or taking the cashier’s terrible service personally.

On the other hand, if you have repeated to yourself that you are likeable, that version of reality will eventually be programmed into your subconscious.  Then, your brain will seek proof of your likeability in of all its millions of bits of constant input: her smile and handshake; him saying he was going to help you clean up, your papers, but you beat him to it; the cashier’s uncomfortable shoes and stained shirt (she must be having a bad day).

What we see is what we get.  What we focus on expands (even if it is only in our own perception).  The words we speak and the thoughts we think help us to create our lives.  So why not take the action of adopting positive affirmations?  Here are some of my favorites:

Every cell of my body is happy, healthy and well.

My body knows how to heal itself.

I am doing the very best I can.

I freely and easily release the past and joyously welcome the new.

I forgive myself and forgive others.

I have the determination to keep going until I succeed.

It is important for each of us to do the work of using our own positive words and affirmations for ourselves.  You can write them, read them, say them, or think them.  I also enjoy spreading my positive energy to others, in support, so I hope you will believe me when I say, “You are good enough.  You are smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you!”

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