I got big into affirmations during a time in my life where I was really searching for something. SOMETHING to ease the pain that I felt, something to be the glue to hold me together, something to make sense out of everything that had happened. In the midst of untangling myself from an abusive ex, some days were easier than others, and some days were really fucking hard. I turned to anything I could think of to help me find myself—both the self I thought I’d lost and the self I knew was germinating somewhere in the shit that had been dumped on me. So, in addition to therapy and my anti-depressant, I decided to incorporate some non-traditional ‘therapies’ into my life. Some may call them ‘woo woo’ or ‘New Age’ or even ‘bullshit’ but I was open to anything and everything that could make me feel alive again: crystals, chakra balancing, affirmations, the law of attractions, books, podcasts, meditation, yoga, sound baths, walking, working out, writing. The list goes on and on.
Some stuck, some didn’t. One that realllllly stuck was the affirmations. And when I say this stuck, I mean it literally stuck. To my wall. I created an entire affirmation wall in my apartment. At one point, I must have had more than 120 Post-its with varying affirmations and motivational quotes plastering the wall between my kitchen and dining area. (“Cool,” a friend once said, “but maybe take down before you have a boy over?”)
I did, eventually, take down the wall of affirmations, both because I found myself ready to have boys over and because I felt like my spirit was buoyed enough, by time, crystals, yoga, affirmations, to not need to read all of them every day. I put them all away in my desk drawer, alphabetized in a box like one where you’d keep recipes. Except for one:
“Abundance flows to me to every day from every direction.”
This one I kept up—feeling like I needed its power still. I soon modified it, adding “and wealth” after “abundance” to accurately capture the sentiment I was after. It’s currently taped in the upper left hand corner of my bathroom mirror, so that I see it multiple times a day, when I’m washing my hands or face, or brushing my teeth. I often wonder if I’ve seen it too many times for it to have power anymore—if it’s more white noise than anything. More than that, I wonder, is it working? Will it ever work?
I wrote this particular Post-it because if you search ‘affirmations’ on Pinterest, this is one of the most popular and first results. But more than that, I chose to copy it onto one of my many, many Post-its because at the time in my life when I was searching—trying to piece myself back together—I felt like I had nothing. I’d been isolated, torn down, and made to believe that my interests and career were insignificant and not worth pursuing. I’d given up so much and felt like I’d never be able to make anything of myself on my own. I doubted myself, my skills, my intelligence, my sanity. This mantra held the possibility that I would be able to not merely weather the storm I found myself in but flourish after it passed.
For so long I felt my worth was measured by the success of someone else—what someone else had, their title, what they could provide for me. I wanted to prove that I could provide for myself, achieve on my own, be judged on my own merits.
I probably wrote that affirmation two years ago. As I peeled the Post-it from the pad, I’m sure I imagined the zeros being added to my bank account, the things I’d buy, the trips I could take. As I write this, I’m still struggling to pay rent most months. I worry about how many more miles I can drive before I’ll have to fill up on gas again. I wait one more day to buy groceries.
But I also know that affirmation is working. Where I once relied on a wall of words to help convince me that things would be OK, I now tap into an inner peace that tells me to keep going. Even when I doubt my skills or sanity, I turn to a community that tells me I’m not crazy but they’ll love me even if I turn out to be. My worth is no longer tied to someone else’s title or bank account—and today when I looked at that worn Post-it note in the corner of my mirror, I smiled.
Lisa Shawcroft is a holistic wellness coach based in Seattle. She loves dogs, laughing, snuggling her nephew, and true crime. She believes shit that happens in our lives is merely fertilizer to help us grow.
Amen, sister! And take it from one who has weathered a few stormy affirmations and come out on the other side feeling nothing but gratitude for the fertilizer. Still planting my garden. Most things thrive these days but there are always a few hearty weeds planting their seeds in my path to keep things interesting and me on my toes.