My story explains the struggles I had as a 23-year-old single, divorced mom with three children, ages six, four, and one and then shows some practical ways I used to change my life and claim my personal power. Self-pity, anger, guilt, and self-hatred were my constant emotional companions. I was suffering physically, mentally and spiritually. In 1980, I made $80 a week, received sporadic child support payments of $300 a month and lived in fear that we would not survive. I was afraid of life and worried incessantly. I smoked, ate unhealthy foods, did not work out and spent endless hours watching television. My mind was constantly focusing on what everyone else in my life should be changing so I could be happy. Because I could not change anyone else, I thought I was a hopeless failure and could not do anything right.
Through the help of Alanon and counseling, I realized that I do have choices and I was the one that needed to change. I listened to my own self-talk. It was negative. I replaced my self-talk, “I am stupid” with “I am learning” and “I am worthless” to “I am good enough.”
One goal I had was to quit smoking. Studies were showing the negative effects of smoking and I did not like the fact that I was addicted to cigarettes. I had tried to quit smoking many times before. Success was realized when I used visualizations and affirmations to stop smoking. Affirmations are simple statements that you say to yourself, like “I can”…”I am good enough”…”I am successful.” Saying affirmations works because your subconscious mind creates exactly what you tell it. However, I was gaining five pounds a month and being good at math realized if I continued, I would be sixty pounds heavier in a year. Determined not to return to smoking to eliminate the weight gain, I turned to affirmations and exercise.
When I started working out, my muscles ached and I wanted to quit because I was not seeing results fast enough. I would say the affirmations to help me get through the work out. Not only did my physical strength improve, so did my self-image and my attitude towards life. Focusing on the affirmations made the workout easier because I was thinking of positive things. Just as my body reaped the benefits of working out twenty-four hours later, so did my mind. I found throughout the day that I would be repeating the affirmations.
By combining exercise with affirmations helped me in many of my daily struggles. If I was in an uncomfortable situation, I started connecting to the uncomfortable feeling I had working out and the affirmations would come to mind. They helped me gain the self-confidence I needed to address my everyday fears and insecurities.
My spirit was becoming more at peace because my body and mind were working together as one. Positive energy was filling my being. Not only was I learning to accept and love myself, I had more energy to cope with being a single parent.
This simple technique of saying positive affirmations when walking, running, or lifting weights is a great way to increase self-esteem and learn to love the entire self, mind, body and spirit. I wanted to share this technique of exercising with affirmations so “Power of Positive Aerobics” was created.