On Thursday I was taking a relaxation class in the school where I used to teach. It was the first one I’ve done in there this school year and for some reason I was a bit nervous before I went. It was really lovely to see the children though and I pretty soon felt okay about it.
Part of every class is an affirmation activity and we were getting short of time by this stage in the session so I went for a quick and easy one. At least it’s easy in terms of how it’s carried out but not necessarily easy emotionally.
Basically I passed around a container of coloured craft sticks that I had written affirmations on. They say things like: I am loved, I am great, I am special, I am fantastic, I am brave and I am peaceful to name just a few. The children all take out one stick and then once everyone has one we take turns to read them out.
Often I find that children (and adults) in Scotland struggle with affirmation. We don’t like to blow our own trumpets or seem big-headed. We get embarrassed when someone pays us a compliment. It’s something I have struggled with at times even though it’s one of my main love languages. Weird but true.
While the container was passed around I explained to the children that sometimes we pull out a stick that is easy for us to believe about ourselves and sometimes it’s something we find hard to believe but I told them we’re going to say it out and mean it even if it’s hard. I had no sooner finished saying this than I looked down at my stick and my heart felt like it physically sank. ‘I am beautiful’. Ugh! Why did I have to get that one just after what I’d said? I had to practice what I preached and read it out anyway but it got me thinking – why is this affirmation so difficult for me? I don’t mean this in an arrogant or prideful way but if there is one thing I have received affirmation about over the years it’s the way I look. I’ve been told that I’m beautiful (inside and out apparently) but I really struggle to believe that. I can pick almost any other stick out of that container and read it and mean it – ‘I am unique’, ‘I am courageous’ – I don’t have a problem with reading those – why is this one so difficult? It’s weird too ‘cause I kinda crave affirmation that goes deeper than looks – but that’s another story.
I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t actually have an answer to my own question. I know there are certain areas that I lack confidence in and other things that I feel I can say because I know that they reflect what God says about me and when I say them from that perspective I feel okay about them. I’m just not sure why this one is so hard?
Are there particular affirmations that you struggle to say or believe about yourself?
How do you feel when other people compliment or affirm you?