Tips for Those Who Find Self-Affirmation Super Difficult:
•Use other people to see yourself. Think about your best friends, favorite characters, etc who have flaws and think about how much you love them anyway. Think about how a friend or someone reading a book about you would describe you
•Take it slow. I love those posts telling everyone to think of themselves as strong beautiful precious land sharks or whatever, but some people aren’t ready to believe that yet and saying the words just feels like something you’re supposed to say and not something you mean. You can work up to big affirmations by starting with little ones; “I’m pretty good at math and I have nice eyes” might be easier than starting off with “I’m beautiful and a genius”
•Start off deconstructing negative thoughts. It can be hard sometimes to convince yourself that you’re great when your head won’t stop screaming “but I’m useless and gross!!” or whatever. Try to rephrasing those thoughts so you can continue to self affirm- remind yourself that most people aren’t completely awful and that there are many things that you do well
•Make lists. List your positive traits, and then think about one specifically and convince yourself of them one at a time. List your goals and then the ways that your positive traits can help you achieve them. List all the times in your life where you’ve felt proud or good about yourself and use them like little Patronus memories to ward off bad thoughts.
•Visualize your affirmations. It can be infinitely more effective to think about all the times you’ve been generous in your life than to merely say “I am generous.”
•Spend time around people who talk to you the way you should be talking to yourself. It sounds kind of dumb, but at times even people who insult you in a completely friendly way as a joke (“are you coming to the party bitch?” etc) can contribute to you being able to say those things to yourself, even if it’s harmless. Conversely, being around people who talk to you positively can really, really help it sink in.
•Figure out what tone best relays self affirming information to you. For some people, it’s the cute and non-threatening pictures of animals telling you to be kind to yourself. For some, it’s imagining the affirmations to be coming from a person or character you think of as wise. For some, it’s trying to make it sound as logical an argument as possible so that there’s no room for self-doubt. Sometimes you need them all at different times.
•If using words at all to self affirm is difficult or problematic for you, try other ways of reinforcing the information. Do things that make you feel good about yourself and highlight positive qualities you have, like volunteering or creating or whatever it might be. Reward yourself when you do something good or reflect on something that makes you good. You can even self affirm through movies and music.
•Sometimes broad definitions help. Try to remember that your definition of being a good person has to be flexible; it doesn’t hing solely on being a good parent or friend or boss or writer. For most people, being able to define themselves as a good person is the basis for their positive sense of identity, so try to remember that there are MANY different ways to be a good person that are not contingent upon never screwing up