Our thoughts about ourselves play a huge role in how we experience life and ultimately how happy we become. As children, we developed most of our thoughts and feelings about ourselves from our parents, families, peers, teachers, etc.
One negative (or perceived negative) comment can have a huge impact on a child’s confidence. For example, “Sally, why did you do that, what is wrong with you?” These comments can create and reinforce self-negative beliefs that often are carried into our adult lives. Most people I know have sometimes wondered “why do I look in the mirror and think such awful thoughts about myself?”
Fortunately there are some practical techniques which you can use to help transform these negative beliefs into positive ones, for example, using daily positive affirmations.
What are positive affirmations?
- A positive affirmation is a phrase or sentence designed to promote positive thoughts about one’s self. For example, “I am beautiful,” would be a good affirmation for someone who worries about their appearance.
- You make a daily practice of repeating the affirmation so that thinking the positive thought becomes routine. Eventually you will begin to catch yourself worrying or thinking negatively and you can choose to replace these thoughts with an affirmation. The more you use the affirmation the easier it will be for positive thoughts to take over negative ones.
- Most of us have bombarded ourselves with negative thoughts for the majority of our lives, so changing the way you think won’t happen overnight. But if you stick with it, they will work to slowly retrain your way of thinking.
There are many different techniques for dealing with different situations in life. The most popular and successful are listed below.
The Mirror Technique
This technique helps you to appreciate yourself just as you are and develop a lasting and healthy sense of self-esteem. It’s very simple and yet surprisingly effective. You stand in front of a mirror, preferably full length, in either just your underwear or, ideally, naked. Starting with your head and working your way down your body say out loud what it is you like about areas of your body.
For example you could say, “I like the way my hair shines, the slight differences in color where the light hits it,” or, “my eyes are a lovely shade. They sparkle and glint.” Take the time and go slowly over all your body focusing onappreciating the small things you like about yourself and thereby building up a more positive image of yourself. If negative thoughts arise, don’t worry just push them aside and keep going. Do this exercise daily, if possible.
The Stereo Technique
This technique can be used anywhere and whenever you catch yourself thinking a negative thought. When you realize you are having a negative thought, think of yourself turning down a volume knob inside your head, slowly turning it down low enough so as not to hear it any longer. Then think a positive affirmation to replace the negative and turn the volume back up repeating it to yourself.
The Trashcan Technique
If you have negative thoughts write them down on a scrap of paper, crumple the paper up into a ball and throw it into the trashcan, by doing this you are telling yourself these thoughts are nothing but rubbish and that’s where they belong.
Writing and Burning Technique
Writing and Burning is a very powerful technique. The basic belief is that fire is a powerful purifying force and through the process of burning your material attachments and agendas, you can release stubborn parts of your psyche that you have been holding onto. The process of fire physically transforming your piece of paper to ash symbolizes the letting go of your stubborn negative mental habits. Sometimes when other techniques, for example using affirmations, have not moved those negative feelings and patterns enough, this technique can be a very helpful tool.
What you do: You write down on a piece of paper all of your negative feelings, hurt feelings, anger, self-anger, fears, grief, sadness, disappointments, etc.–anything that comes to you, there are no wrong feelings or thoughts. Once you have written everything down without any judgement, burn your paper in a sacred ceremony, stating to the Universe, God, whatever you believe in, that you are ready and willing to let this negativity go. Thank the universe for transforming these negative feelings.
You can do this process daily, weekly or as often as you feel the need to. Expect some great changes using this technique!
The Meditation Technique
Find somewhere quiet where you are able to relax for 5 or 10 minutes. Close your eyes and let your mind empty of all thoughts and feelings. Breathe in for the count of 6 0r 7 (hold for 1 count) and breathe out for the count of 6 or 7 (whatever feels comfortable and not strained).
Once you have your breathing going, begin to repeat your affirmation to yourself over and over again while concentrating on the words you are repeating and believe in what you are saying. For example, “I love myself,” is a simple yet powerful affirmation.
All of the above five techniques are great confidence boosters. We hope that you find them as life-transforming as we have!