Courtesy of Nadirah Simmons

Successful Women On The “I Am” Affirmations That Get Them Through Their Day

We are capable beyond measure.

Workin' Girl

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

Kaye McCoy

"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

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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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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Featured image by Getty Images

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