by Stephanie Rochelle Redd
As I was dreaming up this post, I could hear Parks and Recreation’s Donna and Tom exclaim, from within a luxury retailer dressing room, “Treat yo’ self…to an affirmation!” While I can hear and heed this imaginative advice today, prior to 2013, I couldn’t have imagined it nor did I have any idea what an affirmation was.
That year was a huge turning point in my life. I turned 30. I turned into an author and life coach. And I turned my Christian upbringing on its ear by turning my attention to a trio of celebrated New Thought teachers: Alan Cohen, Doreen Virtue, and Louise Hay.
Well, they weren’t celebrated by me – not at the beginning of that year, anyway – because I really didn’t know who they were. But honey, by year’s end, what I didn’t know was how I had made it that far in life without them.
Alan taught me the essence of God and the metaphysical quintessence of Jesus Christ. Doreen taught me that I wasn’t crazy for believing in signs, angels and other mystical and ‘mythical’ beings. And Louise, well, Louise taught me love.
In the Bible, God the Father and God the Son are noted several times as commanding those who believe to “love your neighbor as you love yourself“. As one who believed church to be a second home – as I was there all the time – I heard this commandment all the time as well.
But that doesn’t mean I followed it, and I didn’t, to be honest. I went to church religiously and was just as spiteful and unforgiving as I wanted to be. I tried to be nice to people and, really, I was – and am – a nice person. Nevertheless, despite my nicest efforts along with those times when I didn’t give a flying effort, there were just some “neighbors” who I believed were just too hard for me to love.
And so, because I couldn’t locate the loophole to this ‘impossible’ command to love, I eventually left the idea of church at the open door in hopes of opening a window to a world where love was always on my side.
What I actually walked into was a brick wall of self-loathing, which was illuminated by my lack of self-love. Enter Louise…
“If you have had experiences in your life that are not comfortable, on some level, they’re mirrors of you. We don’t always like to hear that, but everything in our life is a mirror of us. So if something’s happening out there that’s not comfortable, we have to look inside and say ‘How are we creating it?’ ‘What is it about me or what is it within me that believes that I deserve this experience?’ ‘Cause otherwise, we wouldn’t bring it to us. So, perhaps, I would say a little more loving yourself would help because when you get that flowing, you won’t bring in uncomfortable experiences.”
~Louise Hay on “Receiving Prosperity”
In my errant search for a loophole to Universal love, I stumbled upon the wisdom of Louise Hay and was thrown for a loop. When I finally came to, I saw that the bitterness I felt toward my ‘unloveable’ neighbors was really just a reflection of how bitterly I viewed myself. Moreover, I learned that my lack of love for others was in direct response to a lack of love within me for me.
Well, in the years since first stepping foot into Alan’s, Doreen’s, and Louise’s classrooms, I’ve had plenty of occasions to put this theory to the test. Upon concluding each experiment, I’ve confirmed that while it can be trippy, it’s always true: Only love for ourselves equals love for others, not vice versa.
This consistent result has since resulted in my constant use of affirmations–a domain in which many ‘New Thinkers’ deem Louise its queen. Though I, too, hold Louise in this high regard, I admittedly regard my paraphrased version of Alan’s definition of an affirmation as my favorite:
An affirmation is a statement about yourself that just reminds you of who you are.
In other words, an affirmation isn’t aspirational, it’s actual. Of course, an affirmation that states “I spend money wisely…I always have what I need” can seem a little far-fetched when we seem to have only a little amount of money to spend. But if we can suspend our belief in what we seem to see long enough to really remember that the Source of our abundance is infinite and owns “the cattle on a thousand hills“, then we will really start to see that abundance materialize in our lives. (Amen to that.)
And amen to the teachings of Alan, Doreen, and Louise, which have all had such profound impacts on my life. As good teachers do, their teachings have also taught me to prize the profundity within. So, I bring this post to a close with five of my personal affirmations that I use to remind me of who I am.
1. “I am a sexual being. I fully embrace and express my sexuality in ways that are fully aligned with my Higher self. I am free from sexual guilt and shame. My sexuality is a gift from God and I love and enjoy my God-given sexuality. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”
2. “I am abundant in all areas of my life. I trust God easily and follow where He leads me. I fully trust God to take care of me, my finances, my material needs and wants. I am rich in love, peace, beauty, and emotional strength. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”
3. “I am healed. My mind and my body are at ease. I am free from all distressing thoughts and my body is free from all forms of distress. I love my body and my body loves me back. I love my mind and my mind loves me back. My mind and my body are united as one in love. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”
4. “I am whole. I lack nothing. Everything that God says I am, I am. Everything that God has for me is mine. I am a child of the King. Only good is my inheritance. I walk in God’s goodness now and I see it everywhere I go. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”
5. “I am pure and as innocent as the day I was born. My purity is not earned, it is already mine. I am light in the darkness. I am warmth in the coldness. I am love in the midst of fear. I am kindred with God. I bless others and receive others’ blessings. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”