“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is a big believer in the power of positive affirmations. On most days I can be found sitting at my desk, writing one phrase over and over in one of my notebooks. I have a large stack of journals that have already been filled, and I look forward to completing many more – even though yesterday I had to put a super wide cushion grip onto my pen, in order to lessen the pain in my hands as I wrote. (Note: My hands are now fine; I originally wrote this post a few days ago.)
I think that, all too often, discussions around positive thinking and positive affirmations are too quickly written off as being too “new age”. So does that mean that repeating thought patterns that either don’t move myself forward, or that allow me to remain stuck behind my pain and suffering, is “old age”?
Every episode of the Simpsons starts with Bart writing sentence after sentence on the chalkboard at the front of the classroom. Once again he misbehaved during class – and the solution is to have him write his sentences. Some of the sentences in certain episodes are hilarous, no? Long live the power of positive (?) affirmations in the Simpsons.
I grew up on Saturday Night Live (back when it was still funny), and I remember that one of the best things to laugh about while back as school on Monday morning was Stuart Smalley looking into the mirror and saying things such as “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” To be honest, it took me a while to remove this skit from my mind whenever I sat down to write my affirmations. Al Franken believed in the power of positive affirmations, and now he’s a U.S. senator!
A few years ago, my yoga instructor asked me to bring a notebook in to class. When he returned it to me at the end of the session, there was an affirmation written on the first page. My homework was to focus on this affirmation for the rest of the day, and to write it down 100 times. Almost immediately I noticed the positive effect that performing this activity had on me.
I have since moved on to another yoga instructor, but I have continued with the practice of writing positive affirmations (almost) every day. As my rheumatoid arthritis has progressed during the past months, some of my most peaceful moments have come when I sit down and write. The affirmations range for the short and simple “I love my body.” to the longer and powerful “I forgive everyone in the past for all perceived wrongs. I release them with love.” Often, as I write, I light some incense and put on some meditation music.
A couple of months ago, during one of my darkest and most confusing moments, I had stopped writing my affirmations. (This was right around the time when, for the first time, I experienced a temporary loss in the use of my hands.) I don’t remember where I saw the suggestion – Twitter, Facebook, or Blogs – but I came across someone who said that, during particularly rough moments of living with RA, she pins up positive affirmations all around her house.
I didn’t go quite to that extent (no matter, I wasn’t moving around the house much that weekend), but I did pull out some positive affirmation cards and place them on my night stand. Whenever I encountered a moment of anxiety and pain, I would glance at these cards. They did give me some peace of mind, and that eventually gave me strength to change my negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
These are the positive affirmation cards that I currently use.
I Can Do It Cards by Louise L. Hay
Inner Peace Cards by Dr. Dwayne W. Dyer
Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay
Zen Cards by Daniel Levin
If you have been helped by the power of positive thinking, please do share your story with the rest of us!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!