Affirmations, Coping Skills

Affirmation #27 — DBT Magic

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I have a DBT magic inside of me.


Sometimes I get out of my healthy habits and stop using skills. But I can always go back to them. There is knowledge and muscle memory in my body, and I have diary cards and lists in my folder. I am capable of using skills again. I can use the DBT magic within me to make my life better. 

My DBT magic makes me powerful and capable. With it, I can confront difficult situations. 

Affirmations, Life

Affirmation #26 — I am doing my best, AND I can improve (with a tangent on racism)

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I am doing my best, AND I can improve!


At any given time, people are doing the best that they can with the skills and knowledge that they have in the situation they are in.

This affirmation is helpful to me in lots of different contexts: in therapy/treatment/skills, in school, in anything new I’m trying… It’s also a helpful way to frame reminders to other people when I want to give them constructive criticism. For example, I understand that my mom is doing her best as a mom and is busy with lots of things and is already cooking a lot, AND, I would like to have more food in the fridge that I can eat (I have digestive issues and I can’t eat a lot of the stuff she makes). 

I’ve also been thinking about this a lot recently in the context of racism, bias, and systemic racism and other issues in our society. I am a white woman, and while I think I am doing my best, I know that there are ways I can improve, too. 

It helps me to think of the things I’ve done well in the past so that 1) I give myself credit for the good things I am already doing, 2) I know which things to do more of, and 3) maybe I can see where I am lacking. 

So, in the context of racism, these are some good choices I think I’ve made:

  • I chose to go my college in part because it has a diverse student body.
  • I decided that I want to live in a town that is diverse when I grow up (the town I grew up in and currently live in is over 95% white).
  • I took a class this past semester which discussed systemic disenfranchisement, colonization, etc. and where all the books we read were written by people from historically underrepresented groups (black, brown, female, gay, etc.). I wrote papers on these topics and discussed them in class with my peers. 
  • I took a Afro-Cuban dance class and discussed it similarly. 
  • I bought the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates several years ago (but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet). 
  • At some point in the past, I tried (unsuccessfully) to explicitly follow black creators on youtube.
  • In high school, I was part of a club intended to start conversations about race. However, I didn’t really participate. 
  • I took an Unconscious Bias Workshop offered at my college a few years ago. One thing that I took away from the workshop was the idea to fill out a “Bias Reflection” once a week. I’ve only written in it a few times, but I think about it more often. 
  • I’ve had some conversations about race with my friends.
  • I watched the tv show “Black-ish” for a bit because I wanted to understand others’ experiences more. 
  • I am writing this now… writing and publishing this is outside of my comfort zone! 

And here are some things I can improve on:

  • Well, I could actually read that book, haha. I could also look into other forms of media like youtube (again) or podcasts or music, since reading seems to be kinda hard for me. 
  • I can be more aware of supporting black-owned stores. Until this past week, I was not aware that that was something that I could do.
  • I’d like to get more comfortable talking about race. So, I want to have more conversations with my friends about this. I want to be comfortable asking “is this okay?” about something I’ve said or done, and questioning others when they say racist, biased, insensitive, or hurtful things. (<– I think I’ve actually gotten better recently at saying, “what?” “what do you mean?” “that makes me uncomfortable” “I don’t like that” “oof” “yikes” “are you sure” about insensitive things people say. I can continue doing this more and keep an eye out in particular for insensitive comments relating to race.)
  • I can take more classes like these ones and keep talking about the issues with my peers. 
  • I like the ideas on this website: https://www.whiteaccomplices.org I can try do some of those. 
  • I can donate to racial justice organizations. 
  • I am in a leadership position in a sustainability club at my school. As a club, we have talked about Environmental Justice and Climate Justice and how environmental issues and Climate Change are ethical issues because they disproportionately affect (and will affect) people of color and people of lower socio-economic status. We tried to organize events in collaboration with a Black organization and a low-income club (which didn’t happen because of the pandemic). As a leader in this club, I want to organize more events like this. I also want to help our club become more racially diverse. We currently do not have many people with black skin who attend meetings. Though we explicitly say often that everyone is always welcome, I want to change the club so that black people do actually join and come. I’m not sure how to do that though. The partnerships on events might help. 
  • I want to reach out to my congressman and others in government more. I could try to reach out about police brutality. That’s somewhere I could start. (though it sounds intimidating!)

I like the concept of being “anti-racist” instead of just “not racist.” That feels like a good goal, something that I can work towards. I’m on a journey now. 🙂

I have always cared a lot about other people and wanted things to be inclusive and just for all, but recently I have learned about more ways to actually make those things happen. 

I really like that it finally feels acceptable for me, as a white person, to talk about this stuff. In the past, I felt that I couldn’t contribute to discussions on race or racism or that it wouldn’t be right for me to talk, but the truth is that everyone has to be engaged in order for change to happen. I am part of society, too. And if there are things that I could improve on or could learn more about, it’s easier to change if I am actually talking about it. If I am unintentionally “part of the problem,” making things worse or even unintentionally hurting people, then I need to know that and address it. 

If anyone has feedback for me on how I am talking about this, I’d love to hear it! Or if you have recommendations for things to listen to or watch, I’d love to hear them, too! 🙂 Or ideas for things I can do to improve! 

Welp, that ended up taking a bit of a tangent. The message is still the same though: I am doing my best, AND I can improve! 

A key part of this dialectic is accepting where you are now without judgment. I am trying to click the publish button, and a lot of judgments are coming up. I feel like I’m not doing “enough.” I feel like I will be judged by the goals I set for not being ambitious “enough.” But this is where I am at now, and I can’t expect myself to be perfect instantly. That is unrealistic. Maybe it is sad that I am not already better about these things. Yeah, I think I’m feeling sad. 

I feel like maybe it is not my place to write about this, even though I literally just said that I want to talk about this more, and by writing this, I am doing exactly that. I also don’t want to put the burden on other people by asking them to correct me. But I’ve read this over and don’t see any glaring issues. I can learn through trying. I have to start somewhere. I guess I am being vulnerable. I am feeling vulnerable, and I’m feeling some shame. I hope that people will still accept me. 

Affirmations, Coping Skills

Affirmation #25 — Each year is different and new in its own way

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The fact that lots of bad stuff happened last year doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again this year. That was 2019, and this is 2020. The fact that some patterns repeat each year, like the start of school, holidays, and anniversaries, doesn’t mean that the same events of the same type of events will happen again this year. Each year is different and new in its own way.


A lot of bad stuff happened to me in December/January/February of last year. I feel better now than I did a month ago, and I haven’t been thinking about those things as much, but sometimes I just can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen purely because a certain date on the calendar is coming up.

Right now, the anniversary of my grandmother’s cremation ceremony is coming up. It makes me anxious. I know that it’s the date in particular that is making me anxious because when I imagine the date being after this particular date, I feel relieved.

In December, I was so scared before each important date happened, and so relived, happy, and hopeful the day after, once it passed and nothing bad happened.

I’m trying to ground myself when these feelings come up and focus on what is going on around me in my life in the present. Reminders like this affirmation help, too. The dates repeat each year, but the events change.

Affirmations, Coping Skills

Affirmation #24 — I can trust myself

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I can trust myself!

I can trust myself because I have gotten myself through many awful situations.

I can trust myself because I have the knowledge of many effective skills, and I have the practice of using them.

I can trust myself because despite things, I have gotten myself to where I am today. I’m in my third year of college. I’m not new to being a student.

I can trust myself because I’m the only person on the planet that has the experience of living in my body.


I’m working on trusting myself more, so I was writing down some reasons that I can trust my opinions, thoughts, and emotions. When I am doubting myself or immediately valuing someone else’s opinion over mine, I can remind myself of why I can trust my opinions. I‘m the authority on myself.

Affirmations

Affirmation #23 — This is one day

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This is one day.

One of many in your life.

There have been many before, and there will be many after.

Some have been good.

Some have not.

That’s okay.

There are good parts of life, and not-so-good parts!

And they are both part of life.

You will make it through this day the same way you have made it through every other day of your life.

The time will pass no matter what you get done or don’t get done.

It will be a new day tomorrow no matter what.

Affirmations

Affirmation #22 — Serenity prayer

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God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

One moment at a time;

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;

Taking this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that things will be okay.

 


 

(This poem/prayer comes from Christianity, but I think the main sentiments can be adapted for any religion or lack thereof. Personally, I don’t believe in God at the moment, so I cut out and changed parts of it to a version that I like. I kept the “God, ” part in the beginning because it felt weird to me to not address someone, but I’m thinking of it as more of “the universe.”)

I read this a lot in the time after my uncle and then grandmother died.

Affirmations

Affirmation #21 — I am capable of dealing with overwhelming situations!

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I am capable of dealing with overwhelming situations!

I’ve gotten through many situations in my life that I thought were overwhelming at the time. This past summer, I worked as a camp counselor, and there were times when we had 17 campers were running in five different directions, tripping, falling, and crying, while parents arrived to pick other campers up, and other campers were in an intense, friendship-breaking argument over trading pokemon cards, and someone else had to go to the bathroom… it was a lot, but I dealt with it at the time, and over time it got easier! I can handle several things going on at once. It’s part of learning to do the job. I can deal with each, prioritize, delegate, and politely excuse myself from things that aren’t pressing. There are ways of dealing with overwhelming things, and I can do them.

I was also working at a program recently that involved selling lots of items stacked high in a garage-sale sort of event. Things topped over somewhat regularly, and we had three things fall over within ten minutes, two with broken glass! It was very stressful! But you know what, I got through it. I dealt with each fall, asked others to help, washed the broken-glass dust off my hands (no one was hurt), and then asked the person in charge if I could take a break and if we could have more help in my section. Problems solved! I think I was able to deal with it then because of how good I got at dealing with lots going on at once over the summer.

I am also capable of dealing with overwhelming things in the sense that I’ve made it through trauma and many, many reminders and flashback-y events. I have survived all of those, too, and have improved in the ways that I deal with them.

And even when I don’t deal with things in the most effective ways, I am still dealing with them.

Yes, it may be challenging, but I am capable of dealing with it!

Affirmations

Affirmation #20 — A speck of sand

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This is a speck of sand on the seashore of my life.


This is something that my 10th grade English teacher used to say. That vocab quiz that everyone’s freaking out about? It seems important now, but in the scope of your life, it is a speck of sand. It’s okay if you don’t do that well. Applying to colleges? Maybe that’s bigger than a speck of sand — a seashell — but think about the seashore.

In high school, my friends and I would remind each other, “A speck of sand on the seashore of your life!” before tests. It just adds a bit of perspective through some nice imagery. 🙂

Affirmations

Affirmation #19 — In this moment, I am safe

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In this moment, I am safe.


Look around yourself. Do you see any immediate threats? If so, please flee, fight, or do what you need to do to stay safe, but otherwise, hey! You’re okay! No one knows what the next moment will bring, but right now, you are safe.


When I’m in a car and start to get scared that we’re going to tip over when we go around a curve or something, I look around and see that in this moment, we are not tipping over. In this moment, we are safe. Then the next moment comes. I look around. We’re still safe. The next moment. We’re still safe. And then my anxiety starts to go down.

Affirmations

Affirmation #18 — I have gotten through this before, and I will get through it again

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I have gotten through this before, and I will get through this again.


Some of the things I struggle with come up again and again. (note: mentions of self harm and suicidal urges) I think that I did something wrong, I feel intense shame, and I want to hurt myself. I haven’t been sleeping or eating enough, haven’t seen my friends in a while, feel like I never get a break from the grind, and nothing is pleasurable anymore. I get my period, and the pain is so bad that I want to die. A trauma reminder comes up, and I feel so scared and overwhelmed.

In times like these, I find it helpful to remind myself that even though it seems overwhelming, awful, and like it will never end, it has ended before. I have gotten through these things before and come out on the other side. In fact, I have coped well in healthy, effective ways! I am capable of managing this.

I have dealt with strong emotions before, and I will deal with these ones, too. I have gotten through the before, and I will get through it again.