Daily Affirmations

Recently I’ve been participating in a book club where we are reading bell hooks’ All About Love: New Visions.  Let me start by saying that if you haven’t read this book, you’ve got to pick it up.  I have never recommended a book to so many people.  I haven’t even read the whole things yet, and it is blowing my mind.  I look forward to blogging about it after I’ve read the whole book.

In the book, Hooks talks a lot about self love.  It’s not a new idea, but she very eloquently goes into great detail about how we can’t hope or expect to accountably love another person if we cannot truly love ourselves.  Part of that love is affirming oneself, reminding oneself how wonderful you are.  She is clear to make a distinction between “healthy narcissism (the self-acceptance, self-worth, that is the cornerstone of self-love)” and “pathological narcissism (wherein only the self matters)” (117), but she spends an entire chapter (“Commitment: Let Love Be in Me”) discussing the importance of healthy self love.

Well, I am about to embark on quite a HOBY journey, speaking to amazing young people in four states in four days (KY, CO, WA, and IL in that order) before returning to CO for about 24 hours and then heading out to one last HOBY in South Dakota.  As I’ve been preparing for this marathon, I have been trying to think of ways that I can take care of myself while on the road.  I am going to try to get my butt out of bed early to run most of the days, and I bought a bunch of healthy snacks so that I don’t just eat crappy airport food.

In thinking ahead, though, I realized that in all social justice work, it’s important to be doing it for the right reasons.  I need to realize that my liberation is bound up in the liberation of everyone and that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Thus, I have to remind myself of how much I love me, particularly as I am doing work that is likely to physically and emotionally exhaust me, so that I can keep myself focused in order to best work for justice in concert with the young people at these seminars.

Essentially, I need to take a lesson from Jessica:

I’ve been thinking that I need to come up with my own set of Daily Affirmations, things I can say or do every morning that remind me of who I am, why I love myself, and why I do the work that I do.  Do you have any Daily Affirmations?  What do they look like?  How are you taking care of yourself?


3 thoughts on “Daily Affirmations

  1. Well, I’m not quite as in to it as Jessica, but we do put a few messages on our bathroom mirror. At the top is “Carpe Diem” reminding us to seize the day and not put the important stuff off for tomorrow. On one side is a message to me with the symbols: + ∞ ∆ , that are to remind me about pursuing positive, sustainable, change in my actions throughout the day. On the other side are the words “Dream Big” for my partner who has adapted this theme song for life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KwEuNapzt0. And then at the bottom there are three letters. IYQ. Which reminds me of you, Jamie Utt, HOBY, and my love of clowning and committing random acts of kindness.

    Always looking for new ideas though. We also have a white board above our kitchen sink that we put messages on frequently. In a previous living situation, I put quotes on those pieces of foam and left them all over the house. My favorite was on the door. “WAIT! Before you walk out this door, remember, you have the opportunity today to change the world. What kind of change will you make it?”

  2. Jame-

    First, in terms of taking care of yourself, I always make sure to eat your greens and be sure to get lots of sunlight.

    Moving on, I think you’re absolutely right in thinking that you need to come up with your own set of Daily Affirmations. I don’t necessarily use Affirmations everyday, because not everyday do I need a reminder that I am a talented and worthwhile human being, but some days there are a few that I have on repeat:

    1. “The mind runs the body.” I use this a lot when I’m fatigued at work because I didn’t get enough sleep or if I’m running. The mind runs the body- the body will always give up- but the mind can go on and on and on. If I’m thinking positively, my body will be inclined to positive things and do them well. If I’m thinking negatively, my body will not be inclined to do it’s best and I won’t have the patience that I need for teaching. The mind runs the body.

    2. “Do you want to be treated this way?” or “Do you have the full story?” This is an especially important Affirmation as often times at work I am with colleagues who are vindictive or out for number one. When ever I want to say something snarky or make a comment that I think puts them back in their place, I think to myself “Do you want to be treated this way?” or “Do you have the full story?- Do you know why exactly they are doing what they are doing?” We can never know exactly what individuals are going through and it’s especially important for me to remember that being kind is one of the easiest things an individual can do. It’s a different sort of “self love” but it reminds me that I can love myself by loving others unconditionally- even that obnoxious coworker who always think she knows best.

    3. “You can do it.” So simple. Yet so loaded- thoughts of self loathing or doubt can creep in so quickly in new and unfamiliar situations, or even when we’re overwhelmed. Simply taking a deep breath and saying to myself- “you can do it” calms down the racing thoughts, refocuses my center, and gets me motivated. A lot of times the self response to the Affirmation is a quiet slightly shocked voice that answers back, “why, yes, yes I can.”

    Ultimately, in the field of urban education, asking the question “why do I do the work that i do”, “why do I put up with the system?”, “why urban education?”
    But then suddenly, I’m reminded not by myself, but by a student who finally has the “AH-HA” moment after working for so long on an objective.

    I think the big question in social justice is not “why we do the work that we do”-because ultimately, we know why we do the work that we do- it’s the right thing to do- bottom line. But, rather the question should be, “why do we continue to do the work that we do?”, or “why do we press on, against all odds?”

    Affirming these answers verbally is an exposure of the good within ourselves. And you’re right Jame, most days we need to remind ourselves of this good.

  3. Jamie!

    I love this post. I have used affirmations for my half marathon training and also in my daily life. One of my favorites is by Brene Brown, and it is “Own Your Story.” I love this particular affirmation because it reminds me that regardless of what happened in the past or what happens in the future, it is my story. I get to choose how it goes.

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