Updated: Apr 5
If there's one irony about us human beings that I find really puzzling, it's our obsession to be so great at complimenting everyone around us and be the harshest critics to our very own selves. Why the F do we do that?!
I noticed this with myself going through adolescence. I check myself in the mirror and all I see are blackheads on my nose, unruly curly hair and awkward mini-boobs that's too obvious in a camisole yet way too small for a proper bra. I never noticed anything good. All I saw was AWKWARDNESS.
The self-sabotaging habit continued in my 20s, the notorious life stage where one is trying hard to prove something to the world based mostly on looks. Before I go out spending hours on dressing up and putting make up on, I look at my reflection and all I noticed was that I wasn't tall enough, not "white" enough (bottom-line, I'm nowhere close to looking like Cindy Crawford!), and I have visible varicose veins. Even if I was doing a great deal of modeling work at that time which should be enough to validate the looks department, all I saw was NOT PRETTY ENOUGH.
I kinda' had it all together in my early 30s when I started to get comfortable with my own skin and cultivating other aspects of my well-being that didn't solely rely on looks alone. But then chemotherapy happened and took the self-esteem ballgame in a whole new different level. As I observed myself in the mirror first thing in the morning at the peak of chemo, I saw this bald, thin, pale woman character with zero energy and zest for life. It's as if I'm looking at another person... my sad, lonely, hopeless, unlucky twin sister that I never knew existed. I saw EMPTINESS and DEPRESSION staring intensely back at me and I knew right then that if I carry on being so over-critical with myself, I will never make it through midlife mentally sane.
Out of panic, this triggered me to do more online research, self-help book reading and shrink sessions on self-love... which then, led me to developing the habit of giving myself affirmations the first time I look at my reflection in the mirror every morning. Until today, I carried on with this practice and would like to push you to do the same as it really pulled me through especially on days where I felt the ugliest, darkest and unworthiest.
Here are my morning self-affirmations that I say to my reflection and an explanation why it works...
1) "Why HELLO there beautiful goddess! Look at you!"
I affirm this everyday in an animated manner with bright eyes, big smile, open hands and a loud voice. I imagine my reflection like my child version waiting for my parents' compliments after trying on a pretty, new dress. Except that I'm no longer a child so the validation now has to come from within. Even if I look like Hellraiser (curly hair version) in the morning, I still find beauty in my mess and give myself a genuine compliment anyway. It's a great way to start the day, plus I have that funny recall of how silly I look in the mirror as I give myself the pep talk so it keeps me smiling all throughout the day.
2) "Hey WINNER you're so gonna accomplish a lot today!"
I say this on days when I'm aiming at finishing a lot for one day like shooting a vlog, writing a blog, doing collaborations and practicing yoga. I stare straight into my reflection and remind myself that today is the day of accomplishments and I'm gonna make it happen. I say it with intensity and enthusiasm and to my surprise, I do get things done and feel excited doing so.
3) "What's up sexy? You still got it at 38! Keep working it!"
When I'm feeling bloated, unmotivated to exercise or just unattractive in general, saying this (along with a wink!) helps me snap out of the pity party. Of course, it's a fact that my body is never gonna be like it how it was in my 20s! But literally checking myself out as if I were a dude feeling out some hottie which is my reflection and reminding myself that "sexy" is a state of mind gives me the jumpstart I need. After saying this, I feel the motivation to carry on with eating healthy and exercising.
4) "Oh look at that skin! So supple! And that smile! So beaming!"
Instead of focusing on the big zit on my forehead, my buzzed cut after chemo (or my awkward hair now!), my droopy eyes and laugh lines, I redirect on verbally highlighting my features that I feel happy about such as my smile, petite hands, athletic legs, and moisturized skin. That way, the energy is shifted back to a place of appreciation and not despair.
5) "Congratulations strong woman! I'm so proud of you!"
Being a solitary achiever at heart, I have moments where I wake up in the morning and I feel as though I'm not gonna accomplished anything. And since Hallmark never really invented a card that says CONGRATULATIONS FOR NOT SETTLING FOR A JOB YOU HATE or WAY TO GO FOR LIVING A BADASS SOLITARY LIFE or GOOD ON YOU FOR BEING INDEPENDENT, HAPPY & FREE, I had to learn how to give it to myself. This gives me the premonition that no matter how much or how little tasks I end up finishing for the day, it still means that I will get something done and that deserves a vocal "pat in the back" ahead of time.
6) "You are the mighty daughter of the King of Kings. Fearfully and wonderfully made."
This is probably one of the most powerful affirmations I use when my own head demons take over first thing in the morning. When I hear those discouraging self-degrading whispers such as, "You're gonna fail!" or "You're not as good as you think!" or "You should just give up!" which are absolute lies created by my negative alter-ego, I protect my true self from being dragged down by reciting this bible quote and VOILA! I'm ready to conquer the day knowing my powerful King's got my back.
7) "Let's keep on going to keep on giving!"
Aside from self-improvement, one of the things that get me excited to carry on with my day is the fact that I'm able to help others by sharing life-changing inspiration and useful information. So on days when all the self-pep talk doesn't seem to work, I look at my reflection in the eye and remind myself that there is a purpose why I have to keep on going.. and that is to be able to give back and serve others. It automatically pushes my wonder woman buttons on to continue putting the broken world together in my own little way.
8) "I got you, woman! And there's no way I'm letting you go."
Do you ever have days when you wake up and you feel as though the world is too busy to notice your existence and cheer you on? I do. And that's one of the worst times to look at myself in the mirror because I feel so fucking useless! I experienced this at the peak of my treatment where I feel like a burden to the people taking care of me and I just want to give up. But instead, I look in the mirror, I hold my hand as if it was a friend's hand and reassure that no matter what happens, I will always have my back and I'm not letting go of my health, happiness, dreams and the will to live strong and serve my purpose. EVER.
9)"I love you, Jaymee. You're more than enough."
No hair or awkward curly hair, flat tummy or love handles, looking like shit from crying all day or glowing like a diva after a refreshing run... whatever it is that I see in that mirror, sometimes it all boils down to three words: LOVING MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY. And knowing that is enough. I have to reaffirm it out loud to constantly drill in my head that no matter how cruel or judgmental the society or my insecure alter ego can be, I am dedicated and committed to loving myself more and more in order to create a huge overflow that I can give back to the world.
[TO YOU READING THIS: Do you give positive affirmations to yourself the first time you see your reflection in the morning? If yes, what do you say and how does it help you? If not, I dare you to try it for a week and let me know how it impacts your day to day outlook in life. It may feel weird at first talking at yourself in the mirror like a retard but the key is to look at your reflection deep in the eye and imagine you're talking to a helpless naive child who needs your verbal support. Enough being harsh on yourself for once and give YOU the much needed positive affirmations. You, too deserve the love and compliment you constantly give to others. WINNING POSITIVE ENERGY RIGHT BACK AT YOU!]