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April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
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Self Affirmations (Part Two)

(Names changed as requested)




Last week I wrote about self talk and how negative self talk can affect your whole outlook on life and give you a negative spin on how you see yourself. It can, over time, lower self esteem, eat away at your self image and leave you unpleasant to be around. So many of us are in the habit of putting ourselves down and giving voice to our negative deeds, that we don’t even realize that we are doing it. Realizing what messages we are silently (through our thoughts) or loudly (through our spoken words) giving ourselves is the first step to change. We cannot change what we do not recognize. And so, I challenge my readers to begin listening to what you are saying to yourselves. How often do you think, “That was stupid.” or “I’m such an idiot.” without even realizing that you’ve thought it. Start listening to yourself and start recanting any negative comments you catch.


The more you do this, the easier it becomes. Once you have decreased or eliminated the self-deprecating comments, it is time to put self affirmations in their place.


Giving ourselves compliments may feel weird to many of us. We often find it difficult to accept compliments from others, much less giving them to ourselves and so we must start small. I’d suggest taking a minute or two before you fall asleep and remind yourself of a few things you did well that day. Only three or four will do. Or you might be able to remind yourself of three or four things you like about yourself. Either way it only takes moments but must be done every night. The long-term effects will be tremendous. Some of you may want to involve your families and have everyone around the dinner table tell each other one positive thing they did that day and/or saw another family member do. But don’t let this replace your nightly self affirmations.

Tamar was so depressed and full of self loathing, she found it difficult to find three positive things about herself. It was not that Tamar was a bad person. It was just that her very poor self image made her blind to her positive traits. Some nights all Tamar could find to tell herself was that she washed her face well or remembered to brush her teeth. Yet, even with these small steps, Tamar found that after a while she did remember positive things that she had done in the course of the day. Slowly, very slowly, Tamar began to see and say a few more positive things about herself. Today Tamar is a different person. But, she does not let a day pass without making sure to review what she did well that day. The difference is that now, she recognizes the many positive things she did.




Robert was a well spouse. As his wife’s condition deteriorated, so did her outlook. Robert found himself being criticized by her constantly. It seemed he could do nothing right. Everything from doing the dishes and laundry to how he transferred her from her chair to her bed was done the wrong way. Though she refused to make any decisions about her care plan or their house, all Robert’s decisions were “wrong and stupid.” Robert found himself hating his life and himself. He felt he could do nothing right and his self image was in the sub-basement.


Robert started to notice how often he made self-deprecating comments in the course of a day. Slowly he started to eliminate these comments or just counter them. Robert started to make sure every time he caught himself saying something negative about himself, he would replace it with something positive. Unfortunately, Robert’s wife has only gotten worse. Now, however, Robert handles her with humor and he no longer lets all the criticism get to him.


Three positive affirmations at the end of a day can change your life forever. It can make you feel better about yourself and start you on the road to more self confidence. Try it. Try it for a month. One minute a night. Before you fall asleep, tell yourself what you did well that day and/or what is good about you. Just 60 seconds of self affirmations can turn your life around. Aren’t you worth 60 seconds?






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More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/self-affirmations-part-two/2006/01/25/

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