Are Affirmations Effective At Changing Your Self Image?
I don’t know about you, but most of the affirmations I've seen online have been very generic and not at all tailored to me or what I'm going through in a deep, 'Amazon Alexa must have told someone my life story' type of way. So, can affirmations even be effective at helping someone change their self-image?
I have 3 answers for you that you may or may not like... but let's dig in.
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Yes, if you put in the work
The short answer to today's big question is yes, no, and maybe. But first let’s start with yes.
Yes, affirmations can absolutely be an effective way to change one’s self image.
I, Kahdija Imari, have first-hand experience with just how powerful and impactful self talk really is. After all, affirmations written in first person (I, me, or my) are a version of self-talk. So, how do I know they helped my self-image?
Well, Google says, self-image is "the idea one has of one's abilities, appearance, and personality."
Before 2020, I did not take the idea of becoming an entrepreneur seriously. It was something that was more like a distant fairy tale dream. Far, far away in a place that would never come near me in reality.
But, I realized I needed to focus on changing my mindset from negative to positive regarding how I spoke to myself internally about external things. I essentially wanted to start telling myself encouraging things because, well, I had been telling myself discouraging things for a very long time... so why not try the opposite and see how that turns out!
As I worked on thinking more positively, I realized it was difficult to maintain a long term effect. And randomly one day, because I do enjoy journaling, I decided to start writing down these encouraging words, phrases, and questions. Then, I challenged myself to post these words online as a way to hold myself accountable for doing this as a daily practice and to disprove the thought that I'm the only one who feels this way (this is what many of you may have seen on my Instagram and Fanbase profiles when you scroll back far enough).
My point is, it's been a journey, but my commitment to become my own source of encouragement so I can at least feel worthy enough to go grab my dreams and turn them into reality, worked. And it all started with what I now understand to be powerful and impactful affirmations.
Maybe not, if you quit prematurely
Changing your self image is a form of personal development. And any form of self-development takes work. So, if you’re not ready to dig deep and do what it takes to become the you you want to become (or in this case see yourself as the best version of you that you already are), you likely won’t have a great end result.
But why does it take so much work to change your self image?
It’s because you’re going against your current nature in hopes of forming a new, healthier habit. That friction of trying to go in the opposite direction of how you've been doing things for however long, is going to be difficult.
The first thing you need to know here is that much of what we do and how we react to situations and circumstances is a habit. Google defines a habit as "an automatic reaction to a specific situation." Google also defines friction as "conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions." But what is will? Will, wills, or will power is the ability to make "something happen by the exercise of mental powers."
So, here's what all of this means...
How you currently think of your abilities, appearance and personality is here to stay if you do nothing. Doing something, like attempting to change how you think of yourself, is going to take mental power... lots of mental power.
Giving up after the first failed attempt to change will keep you at square 1. But having a level of determination that increases your will power and thus your ability to keep trying over and over again, fail after fail until you succeed will evenyield you quality results.
So, if you quit just short of the amount of will it takes for you to change how you automatically think of yourself, you're doing yourself a disservice.
NOTE: Something to consider here is the type of affirmations your using. (No, they’re not all made the same!) What I mean here is, you may be using generic or basic affirmations where you need to be using impactful affirmations specific to your situation (more to come on this shortly).
Not at all, if you're not willing to be vulnerable
Maybe you’re interested in changing how you think of yourself because you don’t currently live the love you have for yourself…
You love what you do and parts of who you are, but the thing that holds all of you together is missing…
I think that thing is your ability to stop being so hard on yourself and begin to embrace yourself lovingly.
But in order to embrace yourself lovingly, you need to accept every part of yourself: the good AND the not so good.
You need to get vulnerable with you.
And in order to use affirmations that are impactful enough to speak directly to your situation, you have to be willing to talk about that situation.
You need to get vulnerable.. with you..
But, if you're not willing to even think about a situation long enough to understand how you got into it, what habits led you to it, why it seems like the exact same thing keeps happening over and over again.... how are you going to find, read, recite, or even write affirmations that speak life, love, and truth into you?
The very first person you need to learn how to be vulnerable with is you.
(Side note: Once you’re vulnerable with you, you can then learn how to be vulnerable with others and I believe this can breed some of the healthiest relationships in the world.)
Earlier I mentioned that this process of attempting to change how you think of yourself, is going to take lots of mental power. And mental power can be just as exhausting as exerting physical power. But we all know that a body builder doesn’t get bulky overnight; it takes time… days, months, and the best have been at it for years and years. The same is going to be true for you when it comes to changing your self image and using affirmations to do it.
It’s going to take some major work on the inside and it’s going to be a life-long journey if you want to sustain lifelong results.
So, it's your choice. Get fed up enough with living life as is and decide to explore yourself deeply and accept yourself fully so that you can embrace yourself lovingly each day.
It. Is. A. Choice. A daily choice. A moment by moment, I am going to choose me to be on my own team type of choice. And it all starts with vulnerability.
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I hope you've found my answers to today's question helpful, inspiring and even motivating. I am a living testimony of affirmations being effective at changing my self-image, and I am committed to doing the work that will deepen the self-love growing within me. I mean, I want to love me and I want to love the life I live. So, I'm willing to do the work. And I hope you decide to do it too.
Your self care awaits,Kahdija Imari
Founder of 27th & Rose