The Affirmation That Changed My Life

My Most Destructive Affirmation

Me on my 3rd B-day

I was not even aware of the most destructive affirmation in my life.

It was planted in my mind when I was a small child.  No one said it to me, but because I said it to myself…and believed it, it became my truth.

My most destructive affirmation was this:  I am ugly.

I believed I was ugly. Because I thought I was ugly, I was always finding other destructive beliefs to support this core affirmation.

I hated my skinny arms.  I thought my face was ugly. I hated my hair.

These beliefs affected every area of my life.  They affected my confidence (or lack of it) and even the way I dressed.

I would  often wear clothes 10 times too big trying to hide the fact that I was skinny.  In reality, it just enhanced the fact.

The Affirmation that Changed It All

My beautiful mother and me -2006

In my late twenties, I saw myself–really saw myself–for the first time.

I remember looking in the mirror in my bathroom and thinking, I’m not that ugly.

The thought actually kinda shocked me because this belief had been so ingrained, that I didn’t even realize I was thinking it.

Wow. I really should change this belief, I thought. So I decided to try out this “affirmation stuff” just to see what would happen.  I crafted a new affirmation.  I pledged to say it every day–out loud, looking myself in the eyes.

My new affirmation was this: I love you, Steve. I love you.

This affirmation changed everything.

The first few times I said it, I started laughing at myself because it felt so weird to say that I loved myself.  Then, my face changed. I felt a lump growing in my throat.

“I love you, Steve. I love you,” I choked out.

I felt so sad standing there, looking myself in the eyes, hearing my own voice saying “I love you,” and I realized I didn’t even believe it.

Tears began to slide down my cheeks. Why have I never said this to myself, I wondered.  Have I really lived this much of my life never truly loving myself?

Little by little, the old belief faded away and I could see myself as I was.  And for the first time, I could love and appreciate me.

This was the starting point of a powerful transformation that began with a simple affirmation which led me to self-acceptance and ultimately, the courage to be truthful about my sexuality with my friends and loved ones.

I had to love myself before I could accept myself. And I had to accept myself before I could have the courage to change my life.

Self-love and self-acceptance always precede personal courage.
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What About You?

Do you believe in affirmations? Do you use them?

If so, do you actually repeat them out loud (versus in your head)?

Do you have a regular habit of using affirmations or do you use them sporadically?

Do you have any powerful stories of how an affirmation has changed a belief you had?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. During the month of July, 2012, I will be posting 31 times. Since this is a lot of posts over a short period of time, I prepared a special page where you can catch any you may have missed.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Hi Steve,
    I was listening to a Tony Robbins audio recently and he was discussing that very affirmation saying how important it is for us to tell ourselves that we love ourselves. Yours is a perfect example of why this is!

    I love that picture of you in front of your birthday cake! Adorable!


    • Stacy, I think that I’ve heard him say something similar…either in an audio program, or on TV. It seems strange sometimes, but something fundamentally does shift.

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 I was a cute kid…that’s what makes it so weird that I would adopt such a horrible belief.

  • Andrea

    Wow Steve, I felt that lump in my throat just reading your insightful post; thanks so much!

    • Andrea, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad to get this feedback. I try to bring the reader “in” so I’m grateful that you were able to feel the same emotions I was going through in this situation. 🙂

  • Thank you very much for this post, Steve. I needed to be reminded. I have attracted to myself (in the past) people who didn’t treat me well, and I realized that I attracted them because inside, I wasn’t treating myself well. This was quite a realization at the time. I constantly monitor my thoughts and try to take those negative thoughts and turn them around into affirmations.

    • Wow! What a profound realization, Kelly! thanks for sharing this insight so authentically. It’s not always easy. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head…it’s about 1) recognizing the negative thoughts/beliefs and 2) turning them around into a positive belief. Which affirmations have helped you most? Can you identify a power belief that has really changed your life?

  • Thank you. This is a powerful post, and really shows how its not just the thought, but the accompanying feeling that changes you. I use affirmations a lot and most of all – out loud – while driving. I’ve definitely changed my level of self-worth and confidence.

    • Great perspective, Harriet! I agree that it is the *feeling* that affirmations can generate that really changes things. I also agree that saying them out loud is a great way to enhance their efficacy. Glad that affirmations have increased your self-worth and confidence.

      What are a couple of your favorite affirmations? Would love to learn them. (I shared some of mine on the post following this one)

  • We are so intent and obedient…listening to what others tell us to do/think/be…if we could just see the power in affirming to ourselves what amazing depth of being we already possess, our lives would be as spectacular as we would be willing to let them be. Great blog Steve!!

    • Thanks so much, Debbie! Do you use affirmations in a structured way? Have you ever used them this way? Or are there other tools you find helpful?

  • Dawn

    Hey Steve, I love them. They are a great ‘tool’ — yes, I see them as a tool. They do the biz for me, I don’t have hundreds — just a handful, to memory and they are said when needed. Affirmations are funny little buggers — I can totally see why they aren’t for everyone (and that’s okay). There are plenty of other lovely tools to use. Thanks for the post. Dawn

    • I agree. They are a great tool for a specific purpose…namely, reprogramming one’s “self-talk” or fundamental belief system.

      I like to use them for a quick reminder too, when the drama of life is going full-blast. (ie “All is well, I am safe”)

      From your comment, I assume you don’t use them on a scheduled basis…just when you feel the need for them? I’m generally the same, though I have been experimenting a bit with something more routine and consistent.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • Affirmations are profound because it forces you to look into a mirror when saying it. To many, mirrors are enemies, it reflects back things we find painful to look at…to acknowledge. It reminds us that we can lie to anyone else, but we can never be dishonest with the reflection staring back at us. We have to be able to look at that reflection and like what we see. It’s serendipitous that we are held accountable to the one thing that knows our true selves and that knowledge is liberating.

    • That is a great point, Renee! We indeed can lie to others, but it’s more difficult to lie to ourselves when we are staring into our own eyes!

      Are there any specific affirmations that you have found really useful in your life? I am interested in hearing your perspective.

  • Great post and one that I will ponder for awhile! I have a strict “No Negative Self Talk” Rule… but affirmations could certainly help as well.

  • Anna Garcia

    Hi Steve! I found your blog really inspirational. I mean it’s FASCINATING. There is a big difference between knowing something about mind power or self-acceptance and actually using the knowledge. As for the post above.. I got goosebumps :)) I just can relate so much. All my life I knew that I’m ugly. I didn’t say it to myself, I just KNEW it. I was always insecure, always sure that others consider me ugly and unattractive, until I realised that I actually don’t look that bad and at the same time that my self-love shouldn’t actually depend on my beauty. Now I feel happy and tell myself everyday “I love you, you are worth it, I love and accept you..” Anyway, I really love your blog. Keep it up and may God bless you 🙂

    • Anna…your contribution encouraged me so much! Thanks for sharing your beautiful affirmation. I may have to adopt part of it for myself. I love the “you are worth it” one.

      In the new year I plan to write and make videos more about practical happiness in life so keep connected on Facebook or by email.