Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” taught me why affirmations have always been so important to me. Under the proper encouragement, I can overcome just about anything. Yet, I have learned over time that, affirmations are just that, affirmations of worth, not creation or worth. Without the foundation of identity to rest on, affirmations are like drinking salt water – the more you consume, the less you actually have.
I was confused by this for a long time. I had taught myself that if I did the right stuff, I would get affirmations, which would one day confirm my worthiness in this world. I found myself constantly in pursuit of affirmations, but never feeling fulfilled. Underneath my smiling face, I believed that if I could just put together the right combination of actions in front of the right people who would give me the right affirmations, I would finally be set free from the fear that I’ll never be enough. It never worked because I never had an identity to base it on. See, affirmations can’t create; they can only affirm what is already there. I needed to believe in my worthiness, first and foremost, because only then would affirmations come to their full potential.
So…for you who struggle with your worthiness, who feel buried in shame, or who fear you will never be enough…do not focus on right action in order to get affirmations. It will never create what you need. Instead, focus on creating an identity of worthiness. Choose to believe that you have value, independent of what you did wrong or right today. Practice this choice many times a day until it becomes automatic. Repeat the truth of your worth during breakfast, in the shower, during your commute, during your workday, at lunch, in the moments you don’t feel worthy, during arguments, and just before you go to bed. Grind this truth into yourself just like the lie of your insignificance was ground into you for years before. Grind it in until your value becomes just as natural as your shame is now, then watch as affirmations become what you had always hoped they would be.