Are you an optimist? Pessimist? Idealist? Realist? Perhaps you’re a combination of the above or somewhere in between. After all, the world isn’t black and white, the glass isn’t always half empty or half full. But no matter where we stand, there can be little doubt that the way we perceive the world changes the quality of our experience in it.
Which is encouraging news! This means that we can work on changing how we perceive the world instead of trying to change and control things that we have little or no influence over.
While there are 100s of books, thousands of blogs, and probably a million articles on using “positive affirmations” to improve our lives – I feel like there are 3 unconventional phrases we can use to make an uncommonly large change in the way we see the world.
#1: I am here: The single most empowering thing we can tell ourselves.
So often we are pulled into the past or looking to the future in order to achieve a dream or escape our suffering. But the only opportunity we have to change our lives is right now.
When we’re trying desperately to escape our pasts or reach the future, we rob ourselves of that opportunity. And when we finally stop running, we’ll notice that our fears have kept up with us – we’ve made no progress at all.
Instead, when we say “I am here” – we’re giving ourselves the chance to be still, to be at peace with where we are now, to assess the situation from a position of safety, acceptance, and non-judgment.
Paradoxically, it’s this stillness that allows us to take a true step in the right direction.
#2: I love you: We think of this phrase as something to use with our romantic partners and family members. But it has so much more power than that.
We should treat everyone we meet with love and compassion, and this phrase allows us to do exactly that.
Meeting another person with our love lets us be open to their differences, their personal struggles, it allows us to accept them the way they are instead of trying to change or control them.
This allows us to create deep connections, break down barriers – and it helps us manage our responses when someone is feeling angry, frustrated, or upset with us.
#3: I don’t know: We think of uncertainty – of not knowing, as a weakness. We are conditioned to rationalize, justify, and explain everything that happens in our lives, even though a large percentage of our actions never receive conscious attention, and even though much of what does receive conscious attention is too complex to adequately explain.
Saying “I don’t know” also opens us to the possibility that other ways of looking at things exist. When we feel like we already have the answers, we are much less receptive to receiving new information, which our minds will automatically filter out or dismiss.
And it’s this openness to new information that allows us to learn, to evolve as people, to make our lives better.
Being okay with uncertainty, with not-knowing, is also humble. And it lets us be okay with the fact that we can never have all the answers, and to live life to its fullest regardless.
These three little phrases probably aren’t what you think of when considering “positive affirmations” – but they are some of the most powerful. These small, verbal reminders to ourselves can, with practice, change the way we see ourselves, each other, and the world around us – for the better!
So try them out and see how they work. I don’t know for certain, but I’m predicting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
AJ Walton sold all his stuff to travel the world in an effort to better understand the human animal and what makes us tick. Now he helps people escape The Hedonist Treadmill and live passionate, creative, fulling lives at Cracking The Happiness Code.