I am worthy of love and belonging.
I am imperfect and that’s ok.
I am enough.
Ahhh, don’t you feel better after reading that?
That’s why I like to start my day this way- a few minutes of meditation and some affirmations.
But this week, I wanted to provide you with a takeaway that is more actionable.
That’s right folks, its time for another love experiment!
LOVE EXPERIMENT = for the next two weeks, meditate for two minutes and recite a few affirmations every morning.
In briefly looking up research articles to showcase the benefits of meditation, I am OVERWHELMED at the amount of research on the benefits of meditation!! (and by briefly looking up, I mean going down an hour-long internet rabbit hole).
Here are just a few benefits for starters. In scientific studies meditation has been shown to:
- increase happiness
- decrease stress and anxiety
- increase the ability to empathize
- improve physical health
- decrease a need for external validation
- increase emotional stability
- improve focus to help you think more clearly
Do those things sound like they might be useful in marriage?!?!?
In one study done at Harvard University, they instructed a group of research participants to meditate just two minutes a day for 21 days, and shockingly compared to the control group, at the end of three weeks, the meditation group reported being more optimistic, more successful at work and happier.
For me personally, meditation has been a HUGE help in developing my sense of self. I meditate every morning before I pray.
I started dipping my toes into meditation about four years ago now with the book Christ Centered Meditation (recommend!).
From there I’ve tried a number of different types and lengths of meditation. But one that I really, really recommend is the Calm app (they aren’t sponsoring this post, I just really like them).
It has lots of 10 minute guided meditations including a new one daily, a series on gratitude, one on managing stress, relationships to others, relationship to yourself and many, many more excellent guided meditations.
And for beginners, they have a series called 21 days of calm, made up of 21 15 minute meditations that teach you how to meditate, why you meditate and how to form a healthy relationship with yourself. If you’ve been wanting to get into meditation- start there!!
Anyway, my daily meditation centers me, calms me, reminds me who I want to be and helps me remember that life is good.
How to Meditate
For the purposes of this experiment for the next two weeks- start out easy.
Every morning sit down with your legs crossed, close your eyes and just sit in stillness for two minutes.
Try to focus on just your breath. This will be surprisingly difficult since our monkey brains run a hundred thoughts a minute.
Don’t judge yourself when your thoughts carry you away, just bring yourself back to the breath. Back to the stillness.
Then try breathing some affirmations in.
Since our monkey brain is routinely trying to sabotage our mindfulness, it is helpful to remind our brains of how exactly we want to navigate the world.
Regularly repeating mantras or affirmations goes a long way to remind our brains of how we want to live and think.
For the experiment, try reciting 2-4 affirmations after your meditation.
You can make your affirmations whatever will help you the most, but I recommend
- something that asserts your core identity.
- something that assuages your fears.
- something that builds confidence and self-love.
I play around with different mantras from time to time, but I always stick to these three to start out:
1. I am a Child of God.
For me, this is my core identity. It is not something that is EVER in jeopardy of being taken away from me or something that I can’t live up to. (notice that my mantra is not “I am a good mom.” or “I am a good wife” because I may not always be a mom or a wife and particularly I may not be a good one).
But no matter what happens- no matter my mood, my mistakes, my circumstances, my environment, I am ALWAYS a child of God and that means I am ALWAYS worthy of love and belonging.
It means I have inherent worth. It means I have heavenly parents loving me no matter what. This is important to reset and center my identity on this everyday.
Other options could include: “I am a woman/man of love.” “I am worthy of love and belonging.” “I have inherent worth.”
2. I am imperfect and that’s ok.
This one always soothes me. I can get so caught up in my faults sometimes they feel suffocating to me- I’m not getting enough done. I haven’t given the kids enough attention. I’m being selfish. Etc.
I need to regularly remind myself that I am human. Humans are by nature, imperfect. Its part of the deal. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to improve myself, but it does mean I should do so from a place of self-love and that means knowing that it is ok to make mistakes.
I am imperfect and that’s ok.
3. I am enough.
I could write an entire post on how important it is to navigate the world from a standpoint of knowing that you are enough.
If I were to recite mantras ten or even five years ago, I’m not sure I would include this one. I think I would be more drawn to mantras someone would yell at you when you’re at the gym. Things like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” or “No pain, no gain!”
I think former me would be afraid that if I recited and really believed that I am ENOUGH, this would somehow curtail or slow down self-improvement.
I have found it to be just the opposite.
When we navigate the world from the place of “I am not enough,” we are stuck in shame. We are stuck in comparison. We’re beating ourselves up for the sake of progress, but sabotaging ourselves at the same time. We’re setting ourselves up for failure.
When we navigate the world from the place of “I am enough.” We can breathe. We can act out of self-love instead of self-hate. We aren’t threatened by other people and their successes or failures. We are secure. We are free.
I like to recite whatever area of my life is feeling hard at the time. “I am enough for my children.” “I am enough for my business.” “I am enough for God.” “I am enough for my husband.”
What Does This Have to Do with My Marriage?
When we are centered and secure in ourselves, we don’t have to look to our spouse to make us feel centered and secure.
So many of us have been taught the misconception that this is what love IS- someone “being there” for us 24/7. Someone to support us, uplift us, encourage us, make us happy and make us feel good about ourselves.
I’m sorry if this is the first you’re hearing this, but thems some pretty unrealistic expectations to put on a person.
The only person who is responsible and CAPABLE of making you happy, encouraging you, supporting you and making you feel good about yourself is . . . .
Please, give your spouse a break from these responsibilities. You’ll both be so much happier if you do.
Meditation and affirmations are a great place to start in developing a clear, solid sense of self and building those feelings of security from within.
So experiment with me. For the next two weeks let’s try meditating for two minutes every morning and reciting some positive affirmations.
Let me know how it goes!