This morning brought the sad news that the great boxing legend, Mohammed Ali, had passed away.
Many of Ali’s unique quotes, showing his fierce, indomitable, fun spirit have been shared across social media. There is one in particular that caught my eye:
It’s the repetition of affirmation that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
Ali was certainly a man who had incredible self-belief.
I’m currently going through a time in my life where the ground under my feet feels like it is constantly shifting. I keep thinking I see light at the end of the tunnel, but then I come across a huge bend in the tunnel and the light disappears.
I know the light is there, but it is difficult to reach. In order to reach it, I need to keep moving towards it. I need to maintain hope. I need to keep believing.
As part of maintaining this hope and belief I have a few things that I try to tell myself.
I tell myself that I am strong, to remember what I have already survived, that I am doing the best I can.
‘Affirmations’ might feel a bit hippyish – I don’t much like the term myself and I tend to call them ‘things to remind myself of’. If the term doesn’t suit you either, just come up with whatever does – it’s for you.
The concept of affirmations might make you feel uncomfortable because they are by their nature self-centered. We’ve been taught that to focus on ourselves is self-indulgent and selfish.
Well it can be if we care about only ourselves and our needs all the time (and there’s a name for it: narcissism), but spending even a small amount of time on ourselves regularly can reap huge benefits for our wellbeing, self-belief and self-esteem.
Think about it the other way around for the moment: if you are anything like me, you will have spent loads of time during your life giving yourself a hard time for things, beating yourself up and focusing on aspects of your personal appearance and personality that you don’t like. Again, like me, being negative towards yourself will have become second nature, something you do without even thinking about it.
And a negative attitude breeds negative energy.
It may take a while to get in to the habit of feeling more positive about yourself, your personal appearance, and your personality. After all, if you’ve been feeding yourself negative talk you’ve probably been doing so for years and undoing those habits will take time.
Change your attitude bit by bit. Focus on one thing at a time, something that feels manageable and doable.
For example, I have big thighs. For years, I would tell myself that my thighs were huge and ugly. Now, I try to tell myself that my thighs are strong, and that they are great because they help me be awesome during workouts.
The positive affirmation helps me feel more confident about my personal appearance, meaning that I get in the gym working out, improving my self-belief and energy. That my legs can do whatever I ask of them is becoming a conviction. A happy side-effect of the training is my thighs are toning up which means I really am actually liking them more!
You can use positive affirmations for anything that you want to achieve. Take inspiration from Ali: you really can do anything that you put your mind to. With belief, tenacity and determination you can make things happen.
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