When is the last time someone told you they were proud of you? It doesn’t matter what it was about, just that they said they were proud. A teacher, a friend, a parent, a mentor. While we navigate through this world of virtuality, it is so easy to become lost in our own problems, forgetting just how much everyone else around us is struggling. Sometimes, all it takes is a single word to turn our whole day around.
Over the past year, I have been experimenting with using phrases of affirmation whenever I’m at a low point. This could be after an anxiety attack, or even when I feel like I did poorly on assignment – just any time where it feels like a lot of hope has been lost.
These phrases affirm me of the things that are the easiest to forget: that I am strong, that I am worth caring about, that not everything that goes wrong is automatically my fault, and that everything will be okay despite any challenges I may be facing.
This recognition is important. It has become so normal to be open about when you’re struggling, which is great, but with that we have also begun to not react seriously enough when someone says something concerning. Rather than listening and helping them, we laugh it off and say we feel the same. It’s all so casual, which makes it all the more damaging.
One reason for this is because we can hide behind a screen. We can scream every opinion and every worry from the top of our lungs, but with nobody there with us, these emotions can be easy to ignore in ourselves and others.
Many of us often feel undervalued, and the only value we ascribe to ourselves comes from social media. How many likes we get on photos, and from who. How many comments on a post, no matter how generic they are. We’ve gotten so wrapped up in social media that that’s the only time we ever compliment each other, which makes it feel fake. It’s all “yas queen” and “pop off” on preselected, edited photos. Nothing feels genuine anymore.
Basically, what I’m asking is simple: Take five minutes out of your day to pick up a sticky note and write down three affirmations for yourself. Three things that you think you need to hear more often. Sometimes, if we tell ourselves something more frequently, we will slowly become more likely to believe it to be true. If you take one minute out of your day to tell yourself that you are valid and worthy, whether you believe it or not, eventually it will become a fact.
Then, accompanying this, give those phrases out into the world. Text a friend to tell them just how much you admire their passion and dedication to a hobby. Tell a sibling you’re proud of them for doing well on that one test you knew they studied hard for. Let your teacher know that all the hard work they put in each day is absolutely worth it. Just let other people know that they’re recognized.
Imagine the impact that would have for you, if someone walked up to you and told you that everything will be okay. The immense burden that could be lifted off your shoulders. The more positivity we bring into the world, the more negativity we can chase out.
Take that sticky note with your affirmations and hang it up somewhere, be proud of it. Or, put it in your phone case, and always keep it with you. You could even make more than one, and do both. Don’t forget your worth, and don’t get lost in the fake perfect lives everyone else pretends they’re living.
We are all struggling with something. Life isn’t perfect, and not everything will always go in the way you expect. But just imagine the impact it would have on you to hear just those four simple words – I’m proud of you. Now go spread that to others, and don’t forget about yourself. You are important, and you are valued.