For those of you that aren't aware and perhaps aren't paying as much attention to the PRMG Life emails as we suggest you do, May was Mental Health Awareness Month! When sitting with the PRMG Life team, I was nominated to try out a little thing called "daily self affirmations". I'm not one for self affirmations, and was hesitant not to roll my eyes when the thought of "positive self talk" flowed through my brain. The goal was to try this for 30 days straight and notate whether or not I felt a difference in my mental health. Would it change my attitude? Perhaps my approach toward certain situations? Maybe it would give me a better outlook overall. I had no idea how this little experiment would go.
I'll be honest with you all, I had my doubts. The first few days that I said these affirmations I was a bit embarrassed. I googled "best self affirmations", pulled a list of phrases I thought I could say out loud without giggling (I failed epically on this part), then I would recite the phrases out loud each morning. It wasn't until I roped my 7 and 9 year old daughters in to my experiment that I actually started enjoying the exercise. Mainly because I was fascinated by the things my daughters said. "I am kind", "I am beautiful", I am strong". It made me realize this was an opportunity for me to teach them self love. I realized that the best way to teach them self love is to practice it myself. It became a fun morning routine for us and something we enjoyed doing together!
Then, life took a turn.
About a week and a half in to this experiment, my family was faced with a tragedy. It was an incident that hit us hard, all of us. Suddenly self affirmations took a back seat. We couldn't bring ourselves to say positive things, not when we were so down. A dark cloud rolled over my family and it lingered. I didn't think I could cry as much as I did that following week. I did not know it was physically possible to produce so many tears. One day, my daughter came up to me and said she was sorry I was so sad. She started to cry and told me something that changed everything. She didn't know that I could cry when I was sad. I was confused, what did she mean? Then she told me she's never seen me cry. Wow... she was right. I've never cried in front of her, not really cried. Not the painful, deep, saddening kind of cry that I'd been doing that week. As a Mother, I thought that I was protecting my kids from having to see me cry. I'd always tried to hide my tears from them. Mainly because I didn't want to make them sad by seeing me sad. Then it hit me... I was actually teaching my children to hide their emotions. As if crying when you're sad is a bad thing. I decided to stop hiding my tears. I told them I was very sad, and they would see me crying a lot because it helps us heal. I told them if they are feeling sad and need to cry, then to go on and do so.
It was a big month of learning for me, as well as my family. At the start of all of this, I was focused on teaching my kids about self love. In a twisted turn of events I also had the opportunity to show them that self love includes embracing your emotions. I will say that in my moments of grief, the week and a half of self affirmations did come in to play. I had some practice under my belt. I was able to remind myself that life happens in mysterious ways. Some things are out of our control and change is inevitable. Not quite the month of "You are amazing" affirmations I planned on, but affirmations were present all the same. Sometimes, self affirmations can be as simple as a pleasant phrase. Other times, like in times of grief, self affirmations could be something as simple as "You can make it through today. You can make it through tomorrow. You are not alone".
So, do self affirmations really work? Well, they did for me. Not an ideal set of circumstances of course, but they helped in a time I needed them to.
Are you ready to give it a try?
"I refuse to give up, because I haven't tried all possible ways".