Self-esteem affirmations are a tool utilized to maintain a positive self-image. They provide a way to counteract the steady stream of real or perceived negative impacts on how a person thinks about him or herself that occur in daily life. Academic and job performance and social and family interactions continuously influence people’s views of themselves, often in damaging ways. Self-esteem affirmations are used to confirm a person’s worth, capability and competence and help balance the negative effects experienced in life. By positively influencing self-esteem, the affirmations are thought to give people greater control over their lives, helping them reach their full potential.
People have the ability to alter their attitudes, thoughts and resulting self-esteem. Keeping a positive attitude and creating patterns of thinking that promote constructive behaviors is a primary purpose of self-esteem affirmations. Rather than succumbing to negative self-talk when confronted with a less than ideal situation, positive and realistic self-affirmations allow a person to feel more confident about his or her situation. This confidence promotes better self-esteem. Feeling comfortable and in control of life is thought to lead to better decisions and actions.
It can be difficult to reverse a lifetime of negative self-talk and low self-esteem and may take persistent effort. Many professionals believe, though, that routinely using affirmations can help improve self-esteem over time. Recognizing negative self-talk and replacing it with positive affirmations is central to successfully improving self-esteem. Rather than saying, “I am so stupid; I’m always doing dumb things,” people are taught to replace this with something similar to, “I have made a mistake and realized it. I have learned something valuable and now feel better.” This is a realistic statement that promotes confidence rather than self-deprecation.
To be effective, self-worth affirmations must feel right for the user. Completely unrealistic affirmations might be rejected, while on the other hand, unrealistic negative self-talk is frequently believed. Affirmations should be stated in the present tense to give them full impact. The wording needs to be simple and clear and stated positively. In addition, close attention is required to recognize negative self-talk statements in order to quickly replace them with positive ones.
Self-esteem affirmations can be used to start the day or a new project or to positively wrap up the day’s events. People are advised to begin the day by looking in the mirror and repeating one or two concise, positive affirmations. Simple statements like, “I am capable” or “I respect myself and other people” or “Today is a good day, and I’m happy to be alive” start the day in a positive way. At the end of the day, reflecting on successes and positive actions rather than what went wrong provides encouragement. New projects or activities can be started with optimistic affirmations.