Sunday, May 16, 2010

Affirmations & Morning Pages

I have written about the Morning Pages and their importance to me when starting my day several times.  In short, these are 3 hand-written pages of stream of conscious thoughts, ideally written as soon as possible after waking.  There are days where the words won't come.  On days like that, I borrow an idea from my Mom, and write mental affirmations in the space remaining.

Positive affirmations are one of those hippy, feel-good ideas that came about with the onslaught of the self-help and positive thinking industries.  Despite that, I find them incredibly useful in reaffirming to myself what I am, who I want to be, and how I will get there.

Most of my affirmations are based on discipline, self-control and mental toughness.  The focus is here because I believe that if I am willing to do what is hard to do, go without, and sacrifice for the greater good, then any (most) individual situations will work themselves out.  The below are examples of what I repeat to myself mentally or on paper:
  • "No matter how bad things go, my mind will carry my body when my limbs are too weak."
  • "I do the thing that is hard to do, and the power will come."
  • "I have trained my mind, and my body will follow."
  • "Need nothing, enjoy everything."
  • "Embrace the suck," borrowed from Gaijinass.
  • "I will believe when others have doubted."
  • "Weakness will not be in my heart."
Several of the above were borrowed from from this speech.

Again, most of these are general, and I feel like they fit like an umbrella over most situations that will come up.  Some cases that I want to focus on will merit their own statements.

For example, in my work, it is easy to receive a request from a customer that is ridiculous.  It may be very difficult to achieve, cause more problems than it will solve, and make my life (and theirs) harder.  The temptation to shoot off a hasty and dismissive response is a strong one.  Instead, I remind myself that maintaining the relationship is more important than the satisfaction that I would get from that type of response.  I do that with the following:
  • "I pause between stimulus and reaction to proactively choose a response that is deeply integrated with my recognized principles and values."
Another example would be for boxing.  If I have a fight that I am preparing for, a favorite affirmation would be:
  • "I work harder, train longer, and fight smarter than my opponent."
 In any case, I feel that this practice helps me become the type of person that I want to be.  It is far from infallible, otherwise "I [would] have done the thing that is hard to do," and went and talked to that girl at the coffee shop, but steadily, slowly, it molds me into a better, stronger version of me.


Alison said...

Wow. There you go being all inspiring again. Your constant striving for self-betterment (is this a word?) never ceases to amaze me. It impresses me. It also tires me out just reading about it, i hope you also find time to just chill out and enjoy life every once in a while. Granted, maybe i float through life a bit too much, i should probably want to be a better version of myself a bit more, the thought just doesnt occur to me most of the time... which i guess makes me a lost cause. Oh well.

floreta said...

wow you do morning pages??
perchance have you read the artist's way? i think i like you even more now.

Bryan said...

This is excellent. I've been intending to bring more of that into my life ever since, well...since I can remember, and seem to fail again and again with it. It can become one of those practiced things that once you do enough, turns into less of a chore and more something that simply works and molds both your thoughts and actions. Good shit hombre.

Amber said...

I really admire you for this and producing a few "morning pages" of my own sounds like a good idea. Aside from starting the day off with some positive thinking, this would be a great opportunity to come up with material for the short stories that I should be writing to justify my MFA in Fiction.

Annabelle said...

I wholeheartedly believe in positive thinking & psychology, and I commend you for making it useful and real - not cheesy.

Anonymous said...

As always, I admire the dedication. Perhaps this will be the kick in the pants I need to get back on the ball and start being more productive. Thank you for sharing and kudos for Lala land inspiring intrinsic self-change instead of extrinsic... Perhaps I was too hasty in my Ed Hardy judgments... ;)