Trust the Universe. All is Well. You are Loved. The legendary Louise Hay, founder of Hay House and author of dozens of books including the affectionately known little blue book titled Heal Your Body, often spoke about and lived by the power of this enduring affirmation and many others she shared during the course of her life. “An affirmation is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us…You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You’re affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought. Your beliefs are merely habitual thinking patterns that you learned as a child.” (www.louisehay.com)
So what are thoughts? You can’t see them, you can’t grab them, you can’t bottle them up in a jar. They come and they go. Some stick, some pass. But thoughts are in fact very powerful energy forces – they are the fuel that feeds the emotions we feel throughout the day. Thoughts are the precursors to our emotions. When we think specific thoughts about a particular subject or outcome, whether it is something we want in our lives or not, we give those thoughts power and energy which then manifest into feelings (emotions) which then manifest into our life, affecting our physical health, our daily interactions and our mirrored life experiences.
Louise Hay often shared her stories with others about her tumultuous early years into young adulthood when she had little to no love for herself, when her sense of self was fragmented and afraid, and when she repeatedly experienced deeply painful life experiences which mirrored and reflected back those same painful thoughts and emotions which she continued to hold on to. Until she stopped.
Louise Hay publicly attributed the abundant and love affirming shifts in her life to a daily commitment to positive affirmations and mirror work (literally looking into a mirror and telling herself out loud “I love you” or at least saying, “I move towards liking/loving myself”) to help shift out of the conditioned negative and self-defeating thought patterns that were holding her back from living a joyful and fulfilled life.
Louise would talk about the years of conditioning we absorb from our parents, from our environment, from our schools and work, from our culture in addition to the things we hear, see, smell, touch, taste. These experiences become deeply engrained in our thoughts and our minds and we become almost completely unaware and numb to them. They become so familiar to us, like a well-worn coat, that we often resist parting with them. They serve a purpose in keeping us stuck in the same patterns, the same fights, the same repetitive life scenarios that circle back to us over and over and over again, perhaps with different circumstances and different people, but the same scenarios nonetheless.
Opening the Door
If affirmations help to open the door, incorporating them into our daily practice helps get us through the door. Letting go of resistant and undermining thoughts helps to propel us into a new direction, a new life. Affirmations, accompanied by intention and clarity of focus, become a very useful tool in our toolbox to move us forward in a positive direction. Being intentional includes not only mining the thoughts in one’s mind but also includes the conscious choices of what movies we watch, what we listen to, what we absorb, whom we surround ourselves with, what we include in our homes and work spaces, what we speak about, and what we choose to focus our thoughts and energy towards. So think happy thoughts. It can be that simple.
Think of the people whom you know (not a curated celebrity image) who are happy – who show genuine gratitude for their lives – there is often a simplicity and uncomplicated way of being in their lives. They choose to be happy. They choose to be grateful. Scarlett Lewis is a great example of someone who has made this choice every day. To be in the presence of Scarlett is to be in the presence of love and light. Scarlett experienced one of the most painful tragedies a mother could endure – losing her beautiful young son Jesse at the age of six during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Scarlett experienced profound grief and loss and unbearable pain and, at some point following Jesse’s death, Scarlett made a conscious decision to focus her mental energy on “choosing love” and to dedicate her life to peace. Scarlett created The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation and the Choose Love Movement which is a community-led movement offering free social and emotional learning (SEL) to help people thoughtfully respond to any situation or circumstance. Her work has touched countless lives of children and adults across the globe and her mission is unwaveringly clear. “We are creating a safer and more loving world. The kind of world we want to live in. The kind of world we want our children to grow up in.” (chooselovemovement.org)
Be Like a Sunflower Turning Towards the Sun
Like a sunflower that turns its face towards the sun, Scarlett is a shining example of someone who turns her face and her entire being towards love, authentic love. Love for herself, love for Jesse, love for others, love for all. This love circles back and grows and flourishes and creates more positivity in the world. Scarlett encourages the use of affirmations along with action steps that bring more love and acceptance into the world. Her message is simple “find ways to choose love.”
Take a moment to find an affirmation that feels authentic to you. You can use one that exists or create one for yourself. Write it down. Tape it onto your refrigerator. Tape it onto your car dashboard. Set it as a reminder in your phone. Begin to practice with it, incorporate it into your daily habits, and use it especially when you’re stuck or feeling resistance. Let the practice of positive, loving affirmations become a way of being in your life.