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10 Affirmations To Conquer Anxiety Like A Badass

I am over letting anxiety run my life.

Inspiration

Calling myself anxious would be an understatement. This year, I have experienced more restlessness, panic, and weariness than ever before. The compounded stress of our current pandemic, racial tension, and woes of being a working mom (from home) is enough to make anyone mad. Maybe I'm stir-crazy or feeling the weight of years of carrying the baggage of others and pursuing my pilgrimage of success. Like Drake said, "This shit got me in my feelings." I am over letting it run my life.

So what is anxiety? According to Anxiety.org, anxiety is intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Sometimes you experience a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired. Everyone has different triggers that cause bouts of anxiety—it's the never-ending laundry list of things to do for me. Identifying your triggers—or what I like to call "what's eating you"—will help you navigate these emotions. It takes time to determine what they are, but once you do, the power lies within your hands.

I understand that my feelings are fleeting, and the anxiety I feel may last more than a moment, but it won't stay for very long. So, I honor them because they matter, and then I make a conscious decision to move forward.

I'm a firm believer in affirmations—positive statements that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They can improve your mood, boost self-esteem, increase motivation, help you solve problems, and boost optimism. They work! I've used affirmations to tackle stress, increase my self-love and respect, and even find a man.

Here are 10 affirmations to tackle anxiety and be the badass you were meant to be:

1. I have everything I need within me.

Girl, there is no one coming to save you. Unless you have the blue pill or the red pill from The Matrix, there is no special pill to change things. The strength of our ancestors is embedded within you, waiting for use.

2. I breathe in relaxation and breathe out tension.

Ain't nothing to it but to do it. Breathing is free; inhale the good stuff.

3. I love and approve of myself.

Say it with your chest and say it often. Reaffirming self-love is necessary for growth. It's something we need to work at, and daily tune-ups won't hurt.

4. Every thought is creating my future.

Yes, thinking is a type of action. Taking ownership of our actions is a power move. Anytime you allow yourself to become overwhelmed by negative thoughts, it can erode your quality of life.

5. At this moment, I choose to feel calm and peaceful. Everything is unfolding as it should.

Have you ever stepped away from the crowd and into a bathroom to do some deep breathing? No? Just me? Find a place to close your eyes and remember all the times you felt victorious. With that, visualize another moment of success. Discomfort is normal. If you didn't feel anything, you would be without a pulse.

6. I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me. (Philippians 4:13)

For my saved and sanctified, this is the perfect time to remember you are capable of doing all things through Christ who strengthens you.

7. I am grateful for what I have. 

Sometimes our thoughts about others can get the best of us. Focusing on what we lack in comparison to others—like thinking, "Why did they get the promotion, and I didn't?" instead of being happy for them and grateful for what we have. As the saying goes, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

8. I attract all that is good and beautiful. 

When you remind yourself that you are the prize, you continue to attract great things.

9. I am safe at this moment.

There's no time like the present to reaffirm that you are secure in the place that you dwell. This affirmation will help you relax and help you master your feelings.

10. Today, I choose happiness and joy. 

Each day, we have a choice to be happy. Even when something doesn't go as planned, you still have the power to change how you feel.

Argue for your limitations, and they are surely yours. That's a daily reminder that what you think and focus on will become your reality. While anxiety can affect your mental health, it does not have to cripple you. If you're dealing with debilitating anxiety, I suggest seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist to help you achieve inner peace. Honestly, in a way, I feel like my anxiety was caused by not allowing myself to be free—free of fear, free of inhibitions, and free of self-doubt. There's always that little voice telling you that you can't do it again, that you're not worthy of success. It's time to let it go.

My final affirmation: I have nothing to prove to anyone, but everything to prove to myself.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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