The art of self-affirmation has been a way to combat negativity and literally speak life over our lives. When we think of how things like burnout, self-doubt, stress, and anxiety creep into our mental and emotional state and cause us to believe things about ourselves that are the furthest thing from the truth, affirmations act as a powerful tool at combating negative energy. In a world that oftentimes seems intent on making us feel small, devalued, or overlooked, affirmations build us up and act as armor as we battle the everyday pressures and pitfalls of life.
Starting your day with “I am” affirmations can stop your negative self-talk in its tracks, inspire motivation, change your negative thoughts, and encourage an overall optimistic mindset. Through these positive statements, we remind ourselves that we are love, that we are worthy and deserving of great things, that we are beautiful, and that we are capable beyond measure.
xoNecole recently chatted with five successful women about the power of “I am” affirmations in their daily lives. Here’s what they had to say:
Entertainment Journalist, On-Air Host and Producer
Courtesy of Sylvia Obell
Raven B. Varona
"I am capable."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"I know the plans God has for me."
"I have survived 100% of my worst days."
When I get overwhelmed, I begin to question my ability to handle executing under pressure. Imposter syndrome can seep through and I begin to worry I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, that I’ve pushed my abilities to their limits. As a freelancer, I don’t have just one manager who can see the big picture of my workload and say, "Okay, her plate is full right now.” No one knows what it looks like but me.
My podcast producers only see that angle, an editor has no idea that when they’re pulling me left, another editor from a different publication may be trying to pull me right. These affirmations remind me who I am and what I can do. They help me tap into the boss energy that requires pushing back and setting boundaries when necessary. And they remind me that I’m not doing it in my own power, that God is with me as I navigate it all.
"These affirmations remind me who I am and what I can do. They help me tap into the boss energy that requires pushings back/setting boundaries when necessary. And they remind me that I’m not doing it in my own power, that God is with me as I navigate it all."
I think of success as a mountain, the higher the altitude the thinner the air. I realized at a certain point that I’m going to need an oxygen tank to survive the high altitudes that come along with working at this level. Affirmations, my faith in God, and my tribe are all my oxygen tank. They keep me going. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do otherwise.
Affirmations are important because we live in a world that takes every chance it has to tell Black people, Black women especially, that we are not enough, that we are unworthy, and that we are not beautiful, etc. We have to combat all that negativity. We have to face it head-on so that it doesn’t sink in. The best way to fight lies is with the truth. Affirmations are the truth. Repeat them daily so they sink in more than society’s lies.
Founder of OMNoire
Courtesy of Christina M. Rice
“I am a multi-millionaire wellness entrepreneur, author, coach, and speaker.”
This is the same affirmation I have had for six years. I have several but this is my top one. I have it written down in my journals, on my computer, and on my phone. I may not recite it or see it every day but it’s ingrained in my work ethic every day. So even days I am overwhelmed, hectic, frustrated, and tired, this one "I am" affirmation is my constant reminder of what I am striving for in life. "I am" affirmations are the zoomed-out view of your life six months, twelve months, three, five, or ten years from now.
Start with one over-arching affirmation like mine above and then break it down into small digestible bites, what I call incremental manifestations. If I know my goal one, three, or five years from now is to be a multi-millionaire wellness entrepreneur, author, coach, and speaker, then the daily hats I wear are leading me to that goal, such as ideating new ways to generate revenue for the business, hiring the best talent, honing my public speaking and writing skills, and more. I’m a visual person so I tend to write an affirmation at the top of my daily to-do list which helps to ground and recenter me, then focus on what I need to do today to get to where I want to be tomorrow.
"What you put intention towards, gets your attention; what gets your attention, gets your power. You have a choice every day on where your power goes. Is it focusing on all the bad or is it leaning into all your infinite possibilities?"
We spend most of our lives in our heads, so make sure it’s a pleasant place to be. One thing I’ve learned over the years is this…what you put intention towards, gets your attention; what gets your attention, gets your power. You have a choice every day on where your power goes. Is it focusing on all the bad or is it leaning into all your infinite possibilities? That decision is solely up to you. Operating from an abundant, positively affirming mindset takes a lot of work. Hard work and practice. There are days a negative thought may pass through my mind and I stop it immediately and recite something positive and affirming.
I notice an immediate shift in my mood when I do so and that energy, that delight, and joy in knowing I have this much power over how show up in my world, translates into how I show up to my work and my life every single day. Affirmations give us hope. Affirmations expand our worlds to what’s possible. Imagine if every day your spirit was set ablaze by experiencing how good and delicious life could be; if you just believed in yourself, if you constantly affirmed your dreams and capabilities, if you surrounded yourself with others who live in this same truth. You would be unstoppable.
200 HR Certified Yoga Instructor
Client Services Manager, xoNecole.com
Courtesy of Tyeal Howell
"I am not defined by what I do, but by who I am."
"I am safe, secure, loved, and protected."
"I am capable."
"I am allowed to rest."
"I am present with my body, mind, and spirit. I am here, right now."
I start my day with affirmations. I have several colored sticky notes (Being Mary Jane-style) on my bathroom mirror so they are the first thing I see when I'm up from bed. When I start my day like this, it doesn't matter how busy my day is ahead of me. Time with self is so necessary in my life. I am a mother, I live alone and I work from home. My office is my home so keeping up around my apartment is basically a second full-time job. As a client services manager at xoNecole, it's my responsibility to keep our projects organized and moving on track. So, if I'm not organized and on track I can't handle my business. My affirmations help me connect with myself first to be able to show up for my daughter and the world.
"I believe that everything in life is mental. What we focus on becomes reality. What we believe about ourselves is the only truth that exists."
I first realized the significance of my affirmations when I spoke a cross-country career move into existence. I moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta and started my own business in 2018. I had been affirming my ability to accomplish those goals for over a year with my daily affirmations. When I was finally able to see how much I've accomplished and how capable I really was of achieving certain success milestones, I realized that affirmations are an essential part of my lifestyle. Affirmations also got me through my labor and delivery process with my daughter. In between contractions in the hospital, I spoke some powerful affirmations over myself and my daughter and they really helped me stay in the zone and focused on meeting my baby girl for the very first time.
I believe that everything in life is mental. What we focus on becomes reality. What we believe about ourselves is the only truth that exists. My love language is words of affirmations. If I can't show that love to myself, I cannot expect anyone else to show it to me. Affirmations have been life-changing for me and I hope everyone takes some time to define what they affirm about themselves and their futures.
Founder of Manifest Daily
Courtesy of Dheandra Nicolette
"I am strong."
"I am worthy and deserving of everything that I want in this life."
"I am a powerful co-creator of my reality."
Throughout the week, I'm balancing my role as Director of Social Media at a travel media company beside my role as the sole content creator behind Manifest Daily. This daily balancing act means that I'm often holding myself and my work to incredibly high standards because of my goals and the reality that I am manifesting. Returning to these affirmations and reminding myself that I am deserving of the things I am working towards helps me combat imposter syndrome and the feeling that I am not doing enough.
As a woman, I am constantly trying to balance my masculine and feminine energies while bringing my best self to both my team and my content creation process every day. It's essential for me to remind myself that this process isn't easy, but I am strong enough to do it.
"It's essential for me to remind myself that this process isn't easy, but I am strong enough to do it."
When you take the time to reaffirm positive affirmations to yourself consistently, you're choosing to speak kindness and love over yourself, which affects you in so many ways. Affirmations need to be spoken with intention, positive energy, and a genuine desire to show yourself compassion. When you do this, you're reminding yourself that you're worthy of love, respect, and kindness. You not only begin to treat yourself with more of this energy, but you begin to project it on to others as well.
It creates this ripple effect where you end up constructing a much lighter and brighter world for yourself simply because you chose to start with the small yet powerful intention of showing up for yourself.
Founder/Editor-In-Chief of The Gumbo
Courtesy of Nadirah Simmons
"I am doing what I can with what I have."
My affirmation is a play on my favorite Arthur Ashe quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” It’s so easy to get caught up in what others are doing, what they have, or what they’re doing with what they have. And as someone whose tasks and roles require them to be on the internet and social media every day, the exposure to these things increases tenfold.
My affirmation is a good reminder to always remain focused on my work, my path, and the tools I have right in front of me. When the world quite literally stops, you start questioning who you are and what your purpose is. During the beginning of the pandemic for sure, especially when we were all in isolation.
"I realized that affirming I’m in the right place with the tools I’ve been afforded at that very moment helps remove the pressure to present myself to the world in a certain way."
I realized that affirming I’m in the right place with the tools I’ve been afforded at that very moment helps remove the pressure to present myself to the world in a certain way, always working, always having something new coming out, etc. It’s cool to just be where you’re at when you’re there.
Affirmations often reflect what we believe and who we are at our core, and they also give us the space to state these things as facts! When you do this, it can only enhance the way you feel about yourself and your place in the world around you.
Featured image courtesy of Nadirah Simmons
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images