Welcome to another month, and happy Spring! This is a time of rebirth, renewal, awakening and growth. With that in mind, our focus for this month is tackling the beliefs that keep us locked in the past. You’ve probably heard of distorted beliefs and affirmations before, but do you ever wonder how distorted beliefs form or why affirmations are so important? Learning this is a key to healing!
How Shame Leads to Distorted Beliefs
Your self-image is your perception of yourself – it includes your impression of your personality, capabilities, and self-worth. The problem is that shame is often the actual source of your identity— shame is that nagging feeling that you’re inadequate and unworthy on some level. When you don’t like yourself you become overly dependent on others’ validation. But since you can’t control external sources of validation, you create other ways to feel internally secure. You invent beliefs and rules (distortions) about people, life situations, and the world. However, these distorted beliefs provide a false sense of security and perpetuate shame.
The Inner Bully
Our distorted beliefs and opinions create an unkind, critical, and judgmental inner voice which relentlessly criticizes, humiliates and shames you in the same way your parent or caregiver did. We internally dialogue with ourselves the way we were spoken to. Your inner bully’s scripts matter because they create how you feel towards yourself and others and how you perceive the world. When gone unchecked, your inner bully can cause you to feel lonely, anxious, and depressed
The Inner Witness
To shrink the influence of your useless inner bully, you need to cultivate a healthy inner witness that can observe your habitual programmed shaming and self-blaming thoughts. Developing an inner witness is the art of being present in the moment. Your inner witness does not judge your inner bully’s scripts. Instead, it observes your old, programmed scripts, halts them in their tracks, and replaces them with positive, affirming, or validating statements.
How to Use Affirmations
Personal growth requires that you both accept yourself and remain open to change. Self-affirmations enable you to feel intrinsically safe, worthwhile, and valued. I’m giving you a list affirmations that directly contradict your distorted beliefs.
You can meditate on each affirmation, write them down or read them, or recite them to yourself in the mirror. The key is to interact with the affirmations every day and every night as doing this implants these affirmations into your pre-frontal cortex, the part of of the brain that dictates your sense of you. Even if you don’t believe them yet! Remember that changing your brain’s programming takes time. Stick with this and eventually, your distorted beliefs will be replaced with these healthy affirmations.
Remember: healing is a non-linear journey. Wishing you a healthy, affirmation-filled month ahead!