Small things done consistently over time, for the better or for the worse, add up to make huge differences in our lives.
Here’s an example: Cherry brushes her teeth every morning and night. Kyle doesn’t. Do you think there will be a significant difference between their teeth after a year?
Cherry takes vitamins, minerals and omega 3 after breakfast each morning. Kyle smokes some weed after breakfast each morning. Do you think this will make a difference to them over time?
Cherry makes the effort to smile at the other members of her household and to say a sincere “Good morning!😃” each morning. Kyle pushes past the other members of his household each morning, ignoring them at best. Do you think this will make a difference to their relationships over time?
As is clear from the above examples and as I stated above, but it’s worth stating again…
Small things done consistently over time, for the better or for the worse, add up to make huge differences.
Anne Frank said it this way: “We make our choices… and then our choices make us!”
(I love that!)
So… This being the case, I had a thought to apply this idea to mornings and evenings, which are powerful times. I asked myself the following question:
What is something small that someone could do each morning – and / or – what is something small that someone could do each evening – that, compounded over time, will make a profoundly positive impact in their life? (And when I asked the question I was thinking about something that can be done in less than 1 minute so it will be more likely to be something that one could do consistently.)
I’ll tell you what I thought of. I don’t claim to have all the answers so if you have any other thoughts on this I’d love to hear! (Please feel free to add any comments in the area below).
This is what I came up with for mornings (an idea that I originally heard about when reading about the life of an amazing person called Rabbi Yisroel Salanter who was very into this… )
The idea (which you may already be familiar with) is called: Affirmations
The concept behind affirmations as I understand it is that we play messages in the background of our minds throughout our day and throughout or lives. These can be negative messages like: I can’t do it, I can’t cope, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m unloveable etc… Or they can be positive messages like: The Source of life Who created me… understands me, loves me and believes in me.
So… I was thinking that if we can start our day with a positive message (an affirmation) which we will say over to ourselves a number of times each morning (maybe for 30 seconds), then over time, hopefully these messages will begin to sink in and effect us in a profoundly positive way.
So, here are 7 rules of creating an affirmation, most of which I heard from Rabbi Pliskin:
- Choose an area that you feel you need a boost in. Think of the message (affirmation) that you need to hear that will give you that boost…
- Say your affirmation in the present tense like it is happening or true right now e.g. “I am a beautiful person” not “I want to see myself as being a beautiful person.”
- Keep the affirmations in positive language e.g. Don’t say “I’m not ugly” as the subconscious mind hears the words “I’m” and “ugly” and we internalise that (Oy!). Rather say “I am beautiful.”
- Use words that trigger in you a powerful positive emotional feeling. Some words may have a more powerful ‘feel’ for you than ‘others’. (Try and feel the words as you say them).
- Similarly, if possible give the affirmation rhythm and rhyme. An example of this is the famous line “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.”
- Be as concise as possible because the shorter the affirmation, the easier it will be for your subconscious mind to assimilate the message and to eventually ‘play it in the background’ throughout the day.
- Don’t give up. Keep at it. Saying the affirmation may feel strange at first, but, if you keep at it, in time the words will penetrate your mind and heart and you will begin to internalise the message.
So… I’m going to stop here for now. Please G-d I will have the opportunity to write about short, powerful 1 minute things that can be done every evening at some later date…
For now, the task for you and for me is to think of that one area that we need the most encouragement and bolstering in and to make a short, catchy, emotive, present tensed affirmation and then to write it down – put it somewhere where we will see it each morning – and to give it a shot!
If after reading this far you still haven’t decided to try this, go on!… You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain! Why don’t you give it a shot for 1 month?
Wishing you hatzlacha – much success 😀
Until next time 😀
NB: Feedback from some people who have actually tried this exercise of starting their day with 30 seconds to 1 minute of affirmations… Don’t wait until you have worded your affirmation ‘perfectly’. You anyway may find that you want to change a word here and there. Just start with something and let the affirmation evolve, if necessary, as you go.
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