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On Affirmations: How to love yourself and others.

      Many of us have a tendency to talk down to ourselves. Recently, I have caught myself saying “I’m so stupid” and “I hate myself” time and time again. It is quite common for people our age to say these things in a joking manner; self-deprecation is cool and humorous. We craft humorous tweets about our crippling depression and self-hatred, or equate ourselves to garbage. While I find these jokes humorous and believe they have a time and place, I also believe we need to create a habit of speaking kindly to ourselves and those around us in order to keep sight of our human value.

      An affirmation is a statement in which we remind someone  of who they are. When we affirm someone, we tell that person what we see in them and what we wish them to know about themselves. An affirmation says, “I am here and I see you, and I want you to see you, too.” Affirmations focus our attention on positive self-reflection, so that we can consider the statement and truly see who we are. Sharing affirmations with one another cultivates a supportive community of friends. In the midst of all the negative messages we receive from advertisements and social media, affirmations are kind to us in a way that is so rare.

      As beautiful as it is to receive affirmations from others, we can all benefit from affirming ourselves.  Oftentimes, we struggle with things nobody else knows about. Sometimes there are things we need to hear or choose to believe about ourselves. When you tell yourself the truth about that thing that is bothering you, it becomes easier to undo the false perceptions we all carry with us.

      One of the greatest sources of insecurity is lies. It’s those things you believe are true in your darkest, weakest moments – “I’m not intelligent,” “I’m not attractive,” “people don’t want to talk to me,” – the things that can be detrimental to our self-image. These harmful beliefs get repeated through our minds over and over, and every time we experience something that makes us think those thoughts, the idea only becomes more immovably true.

      Despite how concrete these defining thoughts can feel, affirmations can combat them. Telling yourself the truth about who you are is so much more powerful than the lies that have permeated our sense of self-worth. It is important to be ready to defend yourself and your confidence by refuting those thoughts with actual, real, truth.

      In those times when you feel worthless, be sure to remind yourself you are not. When you feel stupid, tell yourself you are smart. When you feel annoying or unwanted, remind yourself of your innate worth. We have to be our own biggest advocates, especially when life gets hard.

      Affirmations are important, both to hear from ourselves and our friends. Remember to be kind to yourself and the people around you.

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