About a million years ago, I thought affirmations were silly. They were "the latest thing" and I've never been one to follow a trend if I can possibly help it.

Plus I'd been raised in a highly damaging and toxic environment where encouraging words or "confidence boosters" were as common as three-dollar bills. I couldn't relate to hearing anything good said about me, much less say such things to myself. So listening to people sit around and repeat their various "I'm so wonderful" affirmations was beyond foreign to me. It was ridiculous.

But as my own search for healing continued, there came a point when I discovered the value in affirmations. Oh, my, in the early days it was almost physically painful to say them. And of course, that was because I didn't believe one word of them.

For example, I remember growing up immersed in self-loathing and feeling worthless. I hadn't been shown respect and therefore didn't have much of it for myself either, which was easy to see in many of my life choices and in my relationships. Telling myself how valuable I was and that I deserved respect were tough sells.

It wasn't until I understood the reasons for my choices that I began to heal, and to clean up the damage that had been done to me and that I'd done to myself. Push had come to shove. I began acting as if I believed the affirmations I was telling myself every day, even though it felt like I was wearing a gorgeous pair of shoes that were three sizes too small.

The longer I acted as though I believed the words, they more they became my reality. In time, I was living them - because I had lived into them.

I am reminded of the years I spent wishing I could paint a mural on my bedroom wall and lamenting the fact that I didn't know how to paint and I wasn't an artist. Eventually, it occurred to me that I might as well try because if it was rubbish, I could simply paint over it.

This mural was my first painting. Ummm, go big or go home?! LOL!

This mural was my first painting. Ummm, go big or go home?! LOL!

Well, to make a long story short, I ended up doing several murals in various homes. It wasn't long before I was invited to have my first of many art exhibitions. My paintings were hanging in galleries and being sold for hefty sums, even to international buyers. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I started to see myself as an artist.

My first exhibition, Chichele College, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK - built in the 1400s

My first exhibition, Chichele College, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK - built in the 1400s

Now I'm tackling another new thing and this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I've been a musician (keyboards) since I was four years old. I adore music. I have mucked around with composing tunes.

Only now I'm composing songs with lyrics - which means singing them. I'm good for a toddler’s lullaby, the school choir or karaoke but that's the extent of my experience or practice.

It's super scary for me to let anyone hear my untrained voice. But as I've learned from what happened with the affirmations, or becoming an author, an artist, or from many other new and uncomfortable experiences, you're not supposed to wait for confidence to show up before diving into something. It just doesn’t work like that.

Nope. You have to dive in head first to gain the experience that gives you confidence. You don't get good at something by wishing for it, talking about it, repeating affirmations about it. You get good at it by doing it over and over again. It's okay to not be perfect. It's okay to make mistakes, especially while you're learning a new skill.

The most important bit is to enjoy what you do and to be happy. Don't give a rat's @$$ about the judgement of others. They aren't perfect either.

If you can relate to this post, I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

 

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