What my children my not know is that real life is full of 'power ups' too, all kinds, in fact, and not all of them good or long lasting. But there is one, the ultimate Power Up, that you can not only obtain, but create for yourself, any time, any where, whenever you need it, why ever you need it, as often as you need it.
Your Power Up: The Power of You! I know it's sounds a little cheesy, but positive self affirmations can super charge your battery pack.
I mean, think about it. We all engage in self talk. We tell our self a variety of things every day, but maybe not always explicitly through conscious thoughts. (Because I never engaged in negative thoughts, I didn't realize how bad I felt about myself until I contemplated how I was treating myself. I never thought: I'm such a loser, or I'm fat, or I'm ugly, or I'm worthless. I never picked myself apart. But that didn't mean I liked myself either. I simply got good at hiding my feelings, even from me. My actions and choices however were self damaging and self defeating, the underlying attitudes of 'I suck' and 'I'm not worth it' were still there even if I was unwilling to recognize them on a conscious level.) If we are going to engage in self talk or self thought, we might as well make it positive and do ourselves a favor. We deserve it! We are worth it!
So what exactly does an affirmation do for you?
"An affirmation opens the door. It’s a beginning point on the path to change."- Louise L. Hay
It opens up a new line of thinking and brings to your forethought truths that you need to hear. Not always truths that you believe at first, but truths nonetheless. Powerful truths that no one can take away from you. Truths that can combat and defeat the negative falsehoods that life experience forces upon us.
"One comes to believe whatever one repeats to oneself sufficiently often, whether the statement be true or false. It comes to be dominating thought in one's mind."- Robert Collier
How much better off are we then, if we will allow positives truths into our repetitious self talk? How exciting is it to think that we can change our world just by changing our thoughts?
"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."- Claude M. Bristol
I've started experimenting with this Power Up for myself, telling myself each morning and each night only positive truths about myself. And it has helped lift my mood like no anti-depressant could... because it is real and sustainable and available in all situations, allowing me to shake off the residue of irritability that a depressed mood leaves behind. Because it has helped me, I have started to offer this experience to my children as well.
Tonight, Thing 1 was very grumpy after getting told off for making some rather obnoxious squeaks, squeals and bodily sounds while we were trying to have family scripture study. He really doesn't do well when corrected. Superficially, this looks like an authority problem, as if he just can't stand being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Doctors might even call it Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In fact, that's exactly what they've called it. However, this mommy recognizes, finally, and it's heart-breaking to be sure: it is self-loathing. He is (sadly) at this place where his self-loathing is so low, so ever-present and heavy that anytime anyone calls him out on anything... it's the end of the world. He simply cannot handle one more thing being wrong with him. It's like another nail in his coffin. Another reinforcement that he is fundamentally a bad seed.
So tonight, after sending all the other children to bed, I pulled Thing 1 into the bathroom along with the step-stool we keep in the kitchen. He immediately said, "You're going to spank me, aren't you?" To which I replied, "Why in the world would you think that? And why would I bring the step-stool in here for that?" Ouch. Hammered that nail in good. Reaffirming with each world that he is stupid. Sigh. Mom's aren't perfect. I knelt down by him and said, "I'm sorry. I can see you are confused and I will explain. You are not in trouble." I then proceeded to take him by the hand and lead him up the step-stool steps so that he was in front of the mirror and had a good view of himself.
"Thing 1," I said (ok, we all know I don't actually call him Thing 1, right?), "look at that boy in the mirror and tell him something good about him." Thing 1 stared at his adorable curly-haired, blued-eyed, nine-year-old self and began to cry. "You're a good boy," he whispered.
"Ok, good," I coached, "now, say it to you. Look at yourself and say, "I am a good boy.""
He took a deep breath and tears rolled down his cheeks. "I am good."
"Good, Thing 1. You are so very good. Now, repeat after me. Ok?"
"Say, I am smart. I am kind." More tears and controlled breathing. He repeated every word.
"Say, I am lovable. I am mommy and daddy's son and they love me." Here is where he hesitated. And I tell you, it was all I had in me not to cry with him. To see the pain in his little face that he wasn't really sure he was lovable or worth loving. I said it again, "I am lovable."
"I am lovable," Thing 1 repeated, "Mommy and Daddy love me."
"That's right," I assured him, "we sure do. Now, let's do it again, ok? I am smart. I am kind..." And we went through it again. And again. Each time his tears still streaming, but will less pain and more hope. "Ok, honey, now say, I love me."
And he took a big breath and stuck out his chest and looked himself square in the eye and said, "I love me. I am good. I am lovable." And then he threw his arms around my neck and said, "I love you, mom. Thank you."
It will take time. He needs to hear these things much more than just this once. And we will take the time. I will take his hand and help him climb that ladder and I will give him those words until he can give them to himself. Because they are true and the truth is powerful.