When life feels overwhelming, our thoughts and attitude play an important role in moving forward. We often fall into a cycle of negative thinking, equating our current stress and struggles with our self-worth and capabilities. We blame ourselves or figure that we are doomed to feel stressed forever. There are but thoughts, and even though they have a strong pill, we do not have to believe them. We can counter negative thinking patterns by pausing, taking a step back, and changing how we think.
Now, it is not always easy to do. The rational mind loves to find reasons to blame ourselves for the struggles and stress we are going through. Yes, it is important and emotionally mature to be personally accountable, to take responsibility for those aspects of our lives within our control. However, personal accountability is not the same as self-blame and rumination.
“The mind is an excellent servant but a terrible master.“
This article will explain why self-love is essential and provide examples of self-love affirmations you can use in your daily life.
The Limits of Negative Thinking
The problem with thinking negatively about yourself when things get tough is that the more attention and focus you give to your negative thoughts, the more powerful they become. This is true even if it is an attempt to stop blaming the world because you understand that you are responsible for your life. Worse, your negative thoughts may even become self-fulfilling prophecies. We feel heavier and sadder when we focus on not feeling good enough, capable enough, worthy enough, or unlovable. We also bring that energy into our relationships, which suffer as a result.
Now, it is not to say that you should ignore your negative feelings—they are valid and worthy of your compassionate attention. Still, you do not need to cling to them. You do not have to believe all of your negative self-talk. A key aspect of practicing self-love is to acknowledge your thoughts, accept them, and let them go. The key is accepting your thoughts, even the bad ones. Accept your thoughts, but do not let them control your reality.
“Understand that having a sad thought, even having a continuous succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person.”Matt Haig
You free up some mental space by working with and accepting your negative thoughts. In this new space, you can choose to fill it with more positive thoughts. Many people hear about thinking positively and seeing it as a form of self-deception or a denial of reality. If those positive thoughts are a form of reality denial, so are the negative thoughts. In fact, the negative thoughts and self-beliefs we hold are often much further removed from the truth.
Here is an example. You sent an email to your boss with an outline rough draft of a project you worked on. She read the email and responded with a vague tone telling you that she does not like or agree with some aspects of the projects and that she said you have to improve it and that you can meet next week to discuss further.
On the one hand, you could worry about her response. You could view their criticism as a sign that you are good enough at your job or that she is losing sight of your value as a team member. On the other hand, you might figure that she has not got a lot of time to go through the details of your project. Instead, she has only given you some thought to work with until you both have enough time to meet and discuss next week.
In this example, all you have is an email. Yet the power of the mind is so mentally and emotionally powerful to respond prematurely to your boss’ email, and it influences how you see the week to come. Taking a negative stand may cause you to worry for the rest of the week and jeopardize your focus. If you take a positive perspective, even a neutral stance will help you focus on the here and now and stay calm and grounded moving forward.
What Is an Affirmation?
Affirmations are positive words or phrases we say to ourselves repeatedly in the form of a mantra. They deal with personal growth, self-acceptance, and self-empowerment. They promote a positive and strengths-based view of the self, making them appropriate for anyone wishing to change their attitudes, beliefs, and circumstances for the better.
Naturally, you might doubt the power of a simple word or phrase in creating a positive impact in your life, but the power of affirmations is evidence-based. Research has observed much higher rates of well-being, sense of safety and security, perceived self-worth, and relationship health in participants who tried affirmations for weeks and months. Affirmations work through repetition, so saying them in conversation about frustrations will not be as effective as repeating them consistently every day and with focus and intention.
Why Use Self-Love Affirmations?
Affirmations remind us to love ourselves, something we often forget. They help us cultivate positivity, abundance, grace, and well-being in our inner self, in an external world that is not always easy to live in. Self-love is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy life. It lifts our mood and has a profoundly positive knock-on effect on all areas of our lives, from our relationships to our work to our sense of meaning and purpose.
“When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with?
What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who is not full of hate, who is able to smile and be carefree. So that is who I have to be.”C. JoyBell C.
Self-love and its sister, self-care, are not just for yourself. They are not selfish. They are not about shutting out the world, and they are not about indulging in luxury as often as possible. Instead, they are means of cultivating a healthy, positive, and vibrant relationship with ourselves so that we can fill up our own cup. With a full cup, we can then share our life and love with others without leaving ourselves stuck.
On the other hand, if we do not practice self-care and affirm that we are worthy and full of love, we are not filling our cup. We leave ourselves in a love deficit that makes it hard to share with others. Without enough self-love, we might even seek that type of love in others. This can lead to intense and exciting love affairs initially, but ultimately the lack of love for self gets in the way and sabotages the relationship.
A study about the effectiveness of positive self-love affirmations on improving our quality of life exists and suggests that a powerful neural process is at play when we practice. One study used MRI scans to observe the brain when participants practiced positive affirmations and found a marked increase in activity in the brain’s ventromedial prefrontal cortex (a region in the front of the brain involved in self-evaluation). Other evidence-based benefits of positive affirmations include:
- Stress reduction
- Openness to others
- Improved relationship quality
- Improved work performance
- Better sleep
- Increased emotional resilience
How to Use Self-Love Affirmations?
Saying an affirmation once or twice might give you a little mood boost, but that is nowhere near as powerful as repeating it consistently. You do not have to practice affirmations all day, every day. Just try to practice always and with intent. Morning is a great time to set an intention—even if you are not an early morning person, giving yourself time and space to pause and settle before you dive into your day can be life-changing.
It is also helpful to practice affirmations at night. We often don’t have a healthy nighttime routine. We look at our screen late into the night and even sleep with the phone next to the pillow, keeping us alert and unnecessarily aware of drama and stress. By setting aside some downtime at night before bed to relax, repeat some affirmations, and release the day’s stress, we can have a much better night, sleep, and have an even better morning.
Morning or night, afternoon, or just before dinner— there is no right or wrong time to use an affirmation. Whatever time of day you choose to follow this self-loving, self-caring practice, just make sure you remove distractions as much as possible and pay close attention to your breath and your body. The more mindful you can be when you practice, the more influential the affirmation will feel.
Daily Affirmations for Self-Love
- “I have all the resources I need to cope.”
- “I am loved for who I am, not who I think I should be.”
- “I am of the world, not just in the world.”
- “Breathing in, I accept my feelings, breathing out, I release them.”
- “I can control how I respond to life.”
- “Self-love is a choice. I choose to love myself.”
- “I have ups and downs, and neither defines me.”
- “I am safe and worthy of love.”
- “I don’t have to strive for perfection. I am already enough.”
- “When I connect with myself, I can better connect with others.”
- “Self-love is service.”
Positive Affirmations for Self-Esteem
- “I am worthy of love and respect.”
- “My best is enough.”
- “Others’ opinions of me do not define me.”
- “My negative self-talk is not a reflection of reality.”
- “I own my responses to life.”
- “Failure is not the end.”
- “I can leave my comfort zone and return when I need to.”
Positive Affirmations for Self-Forgiveness
- “I am human, I make mistakes, and I am worthy of forgiveness.”
- “I forgive myself as I would forgive others.”
- “Guilt and shame do not define me. I am more than that.”
- “All of my mistakes are valuable lessons.”
- “I am a pioneer of the future, not a prisoner of the past.”
Positive Affirmations for Relationships
- “I share my partner’s joy.”
- “I value honest and authentic communication with my partner.”
- “I can have a healthy relationship with healthy boundaries.”
- “I respect my partner for who they are. I respect myself for who I am.”
- “I deserve a healthy and happy relationship.”
- “My love for my partner is the love that already exists inside me.”
Positive Affirmations for Stressful Times
- “I am not my fears and anxieties, and I am their witness.”
- “This too shall pass.”
- “I always land on my feet after stressful times.”
- “I have a network of people who love, care for, and support me.”
- “My stress is temporary, and my awareness is eternal.”
Advice for Self Love Affirmations and Positive Thinking
Positive self-love affirmations are undoubtedly a healthy and effective way to reduce stress, ground yourself, and cultivate important self-love. Let them serve that purpose, and do not rely on affirmations alone to help you manage your life, love yourself, and deal with stress. Affirmations are there to remind you of your worth and to empower you to take even further positive action to improve your life and your relationships.
Try to keep your affirmations realistic. You might tell yourself something like, “I can have whatever I want in life” or “I will always succeed,” but life does not work like that. Sometimes we simply do not exactly get what we desire, and sometimes we fail in our efforts—trying to convince ourselves that it can lead to even more stress and anxiety when things do not work out like that. Be positive, practice self-love, but stay grounded. Let any self-love affirmation you use inform positive action moving forward.