Sticks and stones may break our bones. But oh do words cut deep.
And the words we take in and replay in our minds cut even deeper. I think about the stories we tell ourselves — about our current situation, our future, health, appearance, abilities, family, self-worth, work, significance, and how we show up in the world. The stories we continuously tell ourselves are powerful because they create our reality, whether real or perceived.
I wanted to take us down an entire side street filled with rich research from cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf about how we think, build memory and learn. But I'll just drop this gem that Dr. Leaf shared on one of her many podcast interviews: We think, feel, choose and build about 8,000 to 10,000 thoughts — maybe more — in a day, she told podcaster Jordan Raynor. What we feel, think and say to ourselves is nuanced, and Dr. Leaf makes these complexities plain in a fascinating way, so definitely check out her podcast and blog.
I initially had this bright idea to share 35 affirmations in honor of my 35th birthday back in February 2022 when I first thought about writing this post. Then life got busy, and I almost forgot this gem I had in my draft folder.
The reality is that one truth, one encouraging word that we settle in our hearts and embrace — even in the face of havoc and heartache — can do wonders for our mental health, mood and overall quality of life. If you already have a cluttered mind, rattling off 35 affirmations won't help. Ask me how I know.
The foundation of encouragement, for me, is based on my belief that whatever I am facing, I can always return to the truth that God loves me. That love is the firm foundation I need when life feels squishy and uncertain and anything but soft and gentle.
I'm sharing a shortlist of words that have carried me, dusted me off, put my mind and heart at ease, and given me hope when there was little reason to believe any good would come out of the situation. I hope these affirmations help you to start your day and carry you through the week as you read them aloud.
God loves me just as I am, and there's nothing I can do to change that. It's a done deal. (Romans 8:35-39) (Colossians 3:12 TPT)
I choose to believe and find refuge and safety in His love. His love for me is not based on my performance but on His goodness. (Psalms 62:2 TPT)
He loves me so much that he placed His greatness in me. (Psalms 86:13 TPT)
God is bigger than my mistakes. God's grace, His goodness and favor that He chooses to lavish on me, help me in areas where I feel weak. In fact, my weakness is a portal for God's power to work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT)
I choose life today. I choose joy today. I give my anxious thoughts to you, God. Turn them into praise and prayer in a way that feels nurturing and gentle in my mind and in my body. Amen.
May you carry these truths with you always. If you're looking for visual reminders like these to keep and share with others, check out our Using Words For Good encouragement cards here.