This year, we want to encourage optimism in our communities and in our country. But optimism starts with oneself before being shared with others and moving forward in life. So here are five phrases you can say daily to support self-affirmation and agency.
A while ago, I wrote a piece about five words and phrases you could cut from your daily vocabulary to start feeling better.
While learning what to cut is important, it sometimes implies that we’re doing something wrong. So I want also to show words and phrases that we can add to our lives that can help us feel good.
So here are five phrases you can add to your routine to feel capable, deserving, and enough.
1. I Can Do It
Fear holds us back from almost everything.
There’s the fear of failure, rejection, love, being who we are, even sometimes success.
If there’s ever been a time where you’ve hesitated or turned around and walked the other way, maybe started a project but couldn’t finish it, sabotaged a relationship, or got so down on yourself it felt like there was no way out, more than likely, you were experiencing some kind of fear.
When fear starts to creep in, a lot of what it’s saying to us is we that can’t or won’t be able to do something.
So a great way to keep fear in its place is to create a relationship with yourself that resembles that of a cheerleader, rather than the fans booing in the bleachers.
One way to do this is to say to yourself, simply, “I can do it.”
When you begin to doubt yourself, notice yourself stuck and feeling insecure, stop and tell yourself “I can do it.”
Say it aloud right now and see if it changes something in you. Say it multiple times throughout the day, week, month, and sooner than later, you’ll start to believe it – especially when you see how much more you can get done when you believe that you’re capable!
2. I Choose to See This Differently
It’s easy to get caught up in a day-to-day that’s pretty automatic.
How often do you actually pay attention when you’re washing dishes – or even driving?
It’s only when something pushes us out of the monotony of what we already know that we wake up for a minute, we drop a glass in the sink, or someone swerves into our lane.
These seconds that interrupt us are really the events that give us opportunities to see what we’re doing and our surroundings differently.
When I feel my stress levels rise, I see this also as a momentary alarm that lets me either continue to feel anxious and annoyed or to choose to see the situation differently.
When I say to myself “I choose to see this differently,” I start to be more empathetic to others and to myself; I also tap into what I really need from the situation I’m in to feel better for me.
By reminding ourselves that we have a choice in everything we do or don’t do throughout the day and years, what eventually happens is that we see that we have control over how we think and how we respond in the world.
3. I Am Proud of Myself
For a long time, I never saw anything I did as something to pat myself on the back for. Nothing I did ever seemed to be good enough to deserve my own praise.
If someone told me that I’d done a good job, I’d say something like “I could’ve done better” or “If I would’ve had extra time, I could have really done well.”
To put it bluntly, I made a lot of excuses for myself when I didn’t have to.
I didn’t have to, but I didn’t know that then.
I followed the lead of others who focused more on their weaknesses than on their strengths. I never once thought that I should hone my talents, spend more time on what I was doing well, because I was so focused on improving who I was – because I thought I had to.
Think of all the times that you haven’t accepted the praise you deserve, where a compliment has been given and without thinking, you put yourself down.
It’s these moments that give you an opportunity to be proud of yourself. To accept that, yes, you do deserve the pay increase, that yes, you learned how to parallel park, that, yes, you like who you are.
By telling yourself that you’re proud of who you are and what you do, you’re more likely then to act in a way that keeps you in this feeling state.
How many times do you say hello to someone during the day? How often do you really see other people who are standing in line with you, in the elevator with you, on the train with you?
I think a simple hello can change the course of a day.
A simple recognition that the person you’re standing next to in the elevator, or sitting next to on the train, exists.
When I lived in Spain, what I loved most was that I walked into a place and was greeted with a hello and when I walked out, it was a “see you later.”
What it says is “I acknowledge you.”
Of course, it’s not like you have to say hello to every person you walk by, but you know that there are a few people you could say hello to during your day.
5. I need 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Minutes
The other day, I watched a woman get annoyed at her husband because he kept talking to her while she was doing something on the computer.
He didn’t know that she wanted to concentrate, so he kept talking, and she didn’t express that she needed a couple of minutes before she could switch gears.
The above is something that I see a lot of, and it’s something that I, too, had to learn to navigate.
The best way to reduce feeling overwhelmed and not to get annoyed and angry at someone who is simply trying to speak with you is to say, “I just need a couple more minutes, and then I’ll be able to listen to what you’re saying.”
This simple statement sets a boundary around your time, but also your mental state.
What it does is let you pay full attention, be an active listener, and be present for each moment in your life.
Adding the above words and phrases has helped me quiet anxiety and self-doubt, but have also made me more open to acknowledging my presence in the world.
Originally published on Everyday Feminism.
Cynthia Kane is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. Over the last year and a half, she’s relearned the following: how to jump up and down when she’s happy, cry when she’s sad, laugh when something’s funny, take a compliment, smile at strangers, and be open to the fact that everyone is going through it all the time. For more, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @cynkane.Read her articles here.