What does it mean to be a woman? It means so many different things. It means having to take up a multitude of different roles, often all at once, often at war with each other, often at war with our own sense of self.
Society asks women to be so many things, yet not to be too much, or too little, and while we may be closer to emancipation, the road is still a long and tortuous one. Being a young woman myself, I sometimes find it hard to conciliate all the different parts of myself, because society often asks us to choose one, and keep with that character for the rest of our lives.
- Are you pretty? Or are you smart?
- Are you a mother? Or are you a lover?
It’s not easy for women of all ages to navigate through these pre-configured social roles, without feeling insecure, out of place, or generally not enough. While at a young age this phenomenon often translates into insecurities about one’s physical appearance and social identity, the more we grow, the more pressure is put upon us. Society imposes unrealistic beauty standards for us women to try and imitate, often leading to drops of self-esteem; at the same time, it pushes us to find the perfect mate to procreate, and to do so in time, and then juggle family life with a satisfying professional career and romantic partnership. In short, the challenges women have to face can be hard, and it’s not unlikely to feel stressed and out of sorts.
Luckily for us, there are many beautiful, healthy ways to deal with stress, and to increase our self-esteem and confidence when we feel the weight on our shoulders getting a tad too heavy. One method to lower your stress and boost your confidence that I want to talk about in this article, is the use of affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements about yourself, or about the life you want to manifest, that have been proven to have an incredible positive effect on self-esteem, to the point of being recommended by psychologists and therapists as a means to face depression and anxiety. Incorporating affirmations into our life is easier than it sounds, and while I know it can feel a little odd to speak out positive statements for the first time, it is actually a very fun and effective way to kick away negative talk and thoughts about ourselves.
The secret to affirmations
The main secret to affirmations, is that you must believe in what you’re saying. For example, I used to suffer from a very heavy acne which had a negative impact on the way I would perceive myself. I remember trying to use positive affirmations such as “I feel at ease in my skin” endlessly, without believing what I was repeating to myself. The problem was, in no way was I feeling at ease in my skin, so words didn’t have any power on my mind.
Instead, I replaced this affirmation with “I am learning to feel at ease with my skin”, which I could actually believe in. And, it worked. While I always knew there were bigger and more relevant problems in life than the appearance of my skin, I learned to manage the distress caused by my acne, to the point of developing a positive attitude towards it.
So, before you engage into any affirmation, ask yourself if you can believe what you’re saying, and if you find it hard, adjust the phrases in order to make them more personal and more suitable to you. Maybe, instead of repeating to yourself that you are the perfect mother, you could say something that puts less pressure on yourself, like: “I am the best mother I can be right now and I do my best every day”. This will give you a sense of security, and boost your self-esteem in impressive ways. Dream big, but be honest with what your beliefs are, or it just won’t work. You will see that after some time of using affirmations, you will be able to dream a little bigger, and it will be easier to imagine even more positive outcomes for yourself.
Make it personal
Affirmations work best when they speak directly to the insecurities that we struggle with the most. Therefore, the more personal, the more effective they will be. Just as I mentioned the acne I was suffering from, some of you may feel insecure about certain parts of your body, or aspects of your personality that you feel don’t fit into the idea of your best possible self. First of all, remember that you are already complete, and are already your best possible self. If, however, you’re finding this hard to believe, try to put down, pen onto paper, the things you don’t like about yourself (or your life). Once you’ve done that, turn the sentence around and reformulate it in a positive form, as if you were already appreciating yourself and your life.
“I don’t like my body weight” would translate into “I am learning to appreciate my body weight more every day”
“I am poor” would translate into “I am getting increasingly richer”
“I am lonely” would translate into “I am loved unconditionally”
“I am anxious” would translate into “I am free from anxiety”
Always write affirmations in a positive form, using the present tense, as if what you want to achieve was already in your life. This will trick your brain into feeling better, and the more you’ll repeat it, the more it will believe that you are what you are repeating.
Try to avoid negative forms and negative words, like “no” or “don’t” or “can’t”, to increase the positive effect of the affirmations. Repeat them for at least five minutes a day, anytime you feel you need a little extra boost of self-confidence or calm.
You can repeat affirmations out loud, but also in the privacy of your own mind. The best times of the day to repeat affirmations are early mornings, before you start with your day, and bedtime, before you drift off to sleep. However, you can’t really go wrong with affirmations, so if you forgot to do it in the morning, relax, you always have time to start.
A little inspiration
It can be challenging to get down on your journals and write off your own affirmations, so if you need a little inspiration to start with, don’t worry, it’s totally understandable! I have grouped different affirmations that I feel work very well, relating to different aspects of life and insecurities. Give it a look and feel free to incorporate the ones you feel speak to you the most into your daily life.
Affirmations for women to feel less insecure about their bodies
“I am at ease in my own body”
“I am grateful for my body”
“My body is looking increasingly healthier”
“I am learning to love my body more every day”
“I am learning to appreciate every part of my body”
“My body is unique”
“My body is looking more beautiful every day”
Affirmations for women to feel more confident
“I radiate confidence”
“I am unique”
“I am everything I need to be”
“I am exactly where I am meant to be right now”
“I am learning to become a better human every day”
“I have grown so much and am becoming the best version of myself”
“I am getting stronger every day”
Affirmations for women to feel loved
“I am loved unconditionally”
“I am surrounded by people who want the best for me”
“I am safe with the people I surround myself with”
“I am a great friend / lover / mother / sister…”
“I am filled with love and joy”
“I deserve love and happiness”
Affirmations for women who are mothers
“I am becoming a better mother every day”
“I fill my children’s life with happiness and joy”
“I radiate love”
“I am a supportive mother”
“I can be kind to myself and be a good mother at the same time”
“I am a constant source of love for my family”
“My children are happy and secure”
Affirmations for women to feel less insecure about aging
“I am getting more beautiful every year”
“I am learning to accept the way my body is transforming”
“I am in love with the person I have grown to be”
“I am exactly where I need to be”
“I have all the time in the world”
“I am proud of who I am”
These are just a few examples for you to start your journey towards self-realisation with affirmations! Remember that being a woman might not be easy, but maybe that’s the reason you came into this world as one: because you’re able to live through it. It can be hard to love yourself and feel confident and relaxed, and it is a life-long process which can experience some ups and downs. But the more you put positive energy into your body and soul, the more it will shine and radiate the confidence and love you are longing for! You are already beautiful as you are, but if you need a little help believing it…well, give these affirmations a try!
Paola Perillo is a young old soul based in Rome, passionate about relaxation, meditation, reiki and crystals. She graduated in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Brighton, where she learned to integrate the psychological and the spiritual. Paola is currently working as content writer for different sources.