Right after my graduation from architecture school a few years ago, I felt like I had been cast into the open ocean of life, detached from an institution of learning for the first time in twenty-one years. I found myself floundering for the meaning of it all, feeling suddenly unbounded and let loose from the definition and structure of semesters punctuated by term papers and projects. I began to feel more and more lost and things began to feel negative in what was actually a pretty amazing life. I had a great architecture job in Manhattan, a beautiful home with a bed to sleep in each night, amazing friends to adventure with. What was missing?
“What kind of thoughts make you feel good?” – Louise Hay
I began to notice a negative trend in my thinking, many of the conversations that I had with my closest friends would turn to how I was feeling unhappy and what was causing this unhappiness. This probably drove them crazy (sorry friends!) but I needed to vent because I felt like I was losing it. I had never been taught to deal with negative experiences in any other way than giving in and complaining about it the whole way. None of us are taught better coping skills because we are constantly shown different, more negative methods of thinking in media, from our parents, from our friends. Media has created a culture where complaining is cool.
Media has created a culture where complaining is cool.
Enter: Positive affirmations, gratitude and the amazing Louise Hay, the inspiration of this post. My roommate came home from work one day telling me all about a mediation that she found, a one-hour talk that she listened to not once but five times that day. This turned out to be Louise Hay’s Pide y Se Te Dara meditation. The next day at work I turned on the meditation and listened to it three times back to back.
Louise speaks about how we constantly affirm things to ourselves all day long, with both positive and negative thoughts. Complaints are affirmations that tell the world that we want more of what we are complaining about, just as thoughts of gratitude and words of thanks tell the world that we want more positive things in our lives. Our thoughts form our experience of the world. This is such a simple but powerful thing to finally understand. My world is created by the thoughts I think.
Our thoughts form our experience of the world. This is such a simple but powerful thing to finally understand.
It took listening to Louise Hay a dozen times before I could really integrate positive affirmations into my life without really trying (and to really understand what a positive affirmation is!) But with a bit of coaching and mindfulness, it is super easy to begin injecting your life with gratitude and positivity. A positive affirmation must be stated in the present tense, not the future tense. If you consistently think thoughts of someday,it is impossible for the universe to bring those things to you in the present. Remember, the things you affirm don’t have to be true in that exact moment but if you continue to be thankful and positive the situation is bound to change for the better and your positive affirmations will come true. Seriously, it sounds crazy, but it is true.
The following are some examples of positive affirmations that I try to use on a daily basis. They have helped me immensely; this practice combined with yoga and general mindfulness has completely changed my life in the last few years.
“I am loved and cherished by those around me”
“I am in a loving relationship with a partner who respects me for who i am”
“I am grateful for the love of my family that never wavers or fades”
“My family and friends can feel my love for them in every action”
“I have a strong body that can take me anywhere i want to go”
“I am healthy and my immune system is working every moment to keep me healthy”
“I am beautiful and radiate health from every pore”
“I have an amazing workplace where i am valued and my talents are treasured”
“My workplace is comfortable and i am happy to spend my time there”
“I am constantly challenged and learning at work.”
“Not a day passes that i don’t learn something valuable for my career”
DAY TO DAY
“I am grateful for my morning coffee/tea and those who worked to bring it to me”
“I am thankful that the subway brings me to work safely and on time”
“I am thankful for the food that i eat and the time that i can spend sharing a table with my friends and family”
“Thinking these kinds of thoughts is an act of loving yourself and loving yourself creates miracles in your life.” – Louise Hay