Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World

It isn’t surprising that one of the most consistent self-care techniques for women navigating trauma is to use self affirmations. The toll of emotional and/or physical abuse from someone in a position of trust is devastating. The subconscious mind begins to believe the negative words it hears every day. In order to change the negative thought patterns and heal from the constant triggers, you have to reprogram your brain.

Affirmations are positive statements about yourself and your situation that can help to retrain the brain. The most powerful affirmations include “I am” statements. Repeated enough, these positive statements become new truths in our conscious and subconscious minds. The key is to keep saying them, even if you don’t believe them, yet.

When you find yourself triggered or thinking something bad about yourself, say an affirmation over and over in your head. This literally changes the neural pathways in the brain over time. If you have been trained to think that everything is your fault and that you have to be perfect, use an affirmation like “I am imperfect, and I am enough,” or “I am practicing; it is okay to make mistakes.” If your partner’s addiction and/or infidelity has made you question your worth and lovability, saying “I deeply love and accept myself,” or “I am loved,” can help to create a positive response to those negative feelings.

Affirmations can be tailored to your unique set of insecurities. However, be careful. Words can be triggers. We can also use words, even positive ones, to beat ourselves up. Though the principle behind affirmations seems to be “fake it, till you make it,” you may have to work up to some of the statements in order to avoid triggers. For example, if you were always told to “be happy” when you were feeling deep emotions, then an affirmation like “I am happy” might have too many emotional scars associated with it. It can be changed to, “I choose to be happy,” which gives you a sense of power over your emotions.

Last week we got a lot of questions about and requests for affirmations. You can find some of our suggestions on our Instagram page and our Pinterest page. It is also really easy to do a simple internet search like “affirmations for rebuilding relationships” or “affirmations for anxiety.” Write them down in your journal; write them on your mirror. Print them out and put them on your wall. Say them while you are doing yoga, washing the dishes, and brushing your teeth. Start where you are. You can begin today with something as simple as, “I am strong,” or “I am blooming.”

And guess what?

You are.


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