Oh, my heart. It still brings tears to my eyes. How could such powerful, strong, negative words come out of my little girl’s mouth? How could she say such horrible things about herself? I grabbed hold of her tightly and felt her so tensely holding onto all this anger and frustration. I kept reiterating that the work was hard but she was good, smart and amazing. She kept saying the opposite. It all continued onto the couch where I held her through screaming, crying, kicking and then just those little shudders that occur after an intense cry. I had turned a cartoon on for her little sister so she wouldn’t be too lonely or scared during the outburst. My oldest initially yelled at me for that too, but after calming down, she asked for a specific show. I was relieved she’d stopped crying and I took a deep breath. Before I could speak, she said, “I am really good at saying words!” I laughed with tears in my eyes and said, “Yes, Sweets, you are.” And then she laughed. And I laughed some more. And we curled up into each other, safe and warm and suddenly okay with everything that had happened, and laughed.
I am good.
I am kind.
I am smart.
I am amazing.
When she finished her first round, she put her hand over her heart, smiled and said, “I will remember, Mommy.” We now say these four affirmations every night, three times. She smiles every time. Sometimes she puts her hand on her heart. Sometimes she’s serious, but ends up giggling. I’m amazed every night that this is becoming a part of her identity, the way she sees the world and the way she identifies herself.
As with all things in the world of my 3-year-old, not every day is compliant or predictable. One thing I’ve found though, no matter how many times we’ve butted heads or cried or yelled, is that this time at night is special. She doesn’t always want to say the affirmations, but she allows me or daddy to say them and I find it rather healing. Looking into my incredibly strong, fiercely opinionated daughter’s eyes at the close of a day and telling her, “You are good. You are kind. You are smart. You are amazing,” makes me feel renewed and she keeps her hand on her heart, pondering each phrase. I do encourage the use of affirmations in your own life, but I especially encourage the use of them in your children’s lives. Speaking such goodness over them is uplifting and I believe paints a picture of how we see them and how they can learn to see themselves.