Posted by: mew | October 11, 2009

made me blush

Affirmations bring up a lot of resistance for me.

You’d think I’d be over this by now.  I’ve been working with them, on and off, for several years.  What convinced me to try them, with the voice in my head scoffing, “This sounds so retarded,” and “People will think you’ve lost your ability to reason,” and many other nasty statements in a similar vein?

Simply the realization that I felt it was fine for me to say the cruelest, harshest things about myself in my mind.  Even normal.  But try to say a slightly nice statement — hell, even a statement that just wasn’t mean, and I felt the blood rising to stain my cheeks.  Being neutral to myself at that point in my life embarrassed me enough to cause a visible blush.

Pretty effed up, huh?

I’ve advanced well past that low point now.  For instance, I no longer assume any statement my ego spouts is true or correct.  It may bear a vague resemblance to some aspect of reality, but you can pretty much bet it’s been massively distorted by conditioning and habit.  It’s certainly not wise to assume the mind’s commentary about oneself and one’s prospects in life is a mirror-perfect reflection of reality.


But I still can tell when I’ve found an affirmation that touches a sore spot in my psyche.  A place that has yet to heal, where I need to recondition myself to be able to accept a wider range of possible interpretations of reality.  Because, just like in old times, I suddenly hear that familiar, whining voice pipe up, “This is so stupid.  Why are you wasting your time on this arty-farty nonsense?”

So I picked five affirmations from the list Julia Cameron provided us with in Week Eight of The Artist’s Way, and I chose the ones that really made my ego squirm with embarrassment.  Two, four, and five may even have ignited the faintest warm blush when read aloud.

At least I know I’m on the right track.

Creativity is a blessing I accept.

My creativity blesses others.

I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.

I now share my creativity more openly.

I now accept creative recovery.

(Photo courtesy of Morguefile.)



  1. oh thanks so much for this post!!! it helped me.. because I feel the same about affirmations.. always having that voice telling me it is damn stupid to be reciting affirmations over and over or writing them like doing it at school.

    now tell me.. how do you work with them throughout the day and long do you say them for.. how many different ones do you work with at one time?? thanks!

    • Robyn, so glad the post helped you 🙂

      I have a couple of things I’ve done to break past the affirmation block. One is write them over and over, like you mentioned, maybe pick two or three for the week and write them at the end of your morning pages. I felt stupid about this until I remembered when I would learn something incorrectly on the clarinet. My teacher pointed out that if I played the mistake three times, it was ingrained in my fingers, and I had to play it the correct way at least 10 times to undo the conditioning. Of something so small as a false note! Think how pervasive the negative conditioning was in our childhoods!! We might need to cover that ground in a new way a ton of times just to give the message a chance to sink in….

      Also, when learning foreign languages, I once heard a prof say to acquire a new vocabulary word, you had to say it once, write it once, hear it once, and read it silently once. I note that this was usually enough, when I was 19 and my brain was in fighting shape, to put a new word into my passive vocabulary. That is to say, I would recognize and probably understand the meaning of the word if I heard it used in conversation. To get it into my active vocabulary, I had to start using it myself in conversation, usually at least a few times before I would say I’d gotten it.

      My sister writes an affirmation once, with intention… with her non-dominant hand. I’ve done this a couple of times, and it’s a bit painful for me to do (left hand very weak on the writing), but it does seem to work. I don’t know why or how, and I don’t know where she got the idea.

      Since you’re into painting lately, I also like to decorate an affirmation that’s quite powerful for me. Put it on pretty paper, watercolor it, or do my informal calligraphy of it.

      And when I first started doing affirmations, years ago, I pasted colorful index cards all over the house with the ones I wanted to be reminded of every single day. On the mirror, on top of the alarm clock, on the closet door, on the microwave, wherever I thought it likely to notice them.

      You can also meditate while doing them. So look in a mirror and just look at the shine in your eyes — not your facial features or your smile, or even your eyes, just the shine on the pupil, and repeat your affirmation, silently or aloud. Then let it echo in your soul as long as possible without a response.

      One of the most powerful ways to use them I’ve ever discovered: in a sacred circle. With two trusted women, we each would say our affirmation for ourselves, and then get it echoed back to us. For instance, “I, Meredith, now share my creativity more openly,” and my girlfriends would repeat variations of this back to me, “You share your creativity more openly, Meredith,” etc.

      Hope this helps! (It’s practically its own blog post, no?)

  2. I found a quote today that seems fitting in this situation:
    “happiness is a form of courage”

    • brandi, I really like that quote. It’s been copied into my quote file 😉

      We might rewrite it: “Joy is a form of courage.” I like joy better — I can do joy even when I’m not precisely “happy,” you know? Of course, when I’m really deep-down joyful, I feel no need for courage because I connect with, trust, and know I am one with all that is, and so the even most tenacious fears are driven out of the corners of my soul.

  3. Great post, Meredith! Persistence will pay off. I have found that choosing three affirmations for a given week, and writing them five times each on a daily basis in my journal, helps get past my negative (ego) mind-chatter. I like the idea of writing an affirmation, with intention, using the non-dominant hand….must try it though, like you, I’m not sure how successful I’m manage the writing part.

    • Thanks, Serena 😉 Yeah, that’s the easiest way for me, tack them onto the end of the Morning Pages, and then copy over and over (at least 3 times) just as if I’d been naughty at school and been assigned “lines.”

  4. i chose your first affirmation as well. i find them very difficult, but i made an effort to either begin or end (depending on what my mood was) my morning pages with them and over time they started to sound less foolish and became more empowering.

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