Book Review - Love Yourself: 100 Empowering Affirmations to Celebrate You by Laurasia Mattingly
How would you rate your ability to affirm yourself? It's a technique that is powerful for engendering feelings of self-love. Positive affirmations are also helpful for reducing anxiety and lifting your mood.
The History of Positive Affirmations
Though the current positive affirmation movement is attributed to the 1970s work of John Grinder and Richard Bandler from the University of Santa Cruz, there is evidence of the use of affirmations in multiple ancient spiritual traditions - practices that are thousands of years old. Folded into neuro-linguistic programming, the modern use of affirmations has been used to reduce negative behavior patterns and enhance positive, adaptive ones.
In my practice, I sometimes recommend use of affirmations for patients feeling unsure of themselves and their abilities - especially those unsure if they are making progress in therapy. The reason for this is that I've observed it helps people crystallize their therapeutic work in a way that makes them say, "Oh, this is what I've been learning!"
Written by Laurasia Mattingly, this little book of affirmations packs a positively powerful punch. Affirmations, by nature, are quick, simple and use only positive terms. You'll find no can't, don't, won't, or shouldn't terms.
In her introduction, Mattingly describes the book as a reference of sorts. You can read it in order, flip through to something that feels right for you, and always come back to it in low moments.
She says, "Whether you’re just getting started on your self-love journey or you’re looking to deepen an existing practice, learning to love yourself is a lifelong process. These positive affirmations can help guide you, inspire you, and empower you to practice self-love."
Containing affirmations such as "I don't need to feel guilty for removing toxic people from my life" and "I will give my inner critic the day off. Its opinions and judgments will not hold power over me," Mattingly's book lists 100 statements of self-worth, calm, and present-moment mindedness.
When compared to a few other similar books, Love Yourself does a great job of suggesting coping strategies, like spending time in nature, moving your body, and using grounding thoughts. It also normalizes the range of human emotions, from fear, to anger, to overwhelm. These affirmations do not follow any religious tradition, so can be used by people of different spiritual beliefs. Another nice touch is that Mattingly has included statements from other motivating authors, too, showing a range of affirmation style.
While Love Yourself does not suggest any strict instructions for how to use the affirmations, it's easy to create a place for it in your self-care regimen. You can read it to set the tone for your day, in the middle of the day (especially if it's a challenging one), or as a guide for your thought intentions for a few days at a time, or the week overall. Other guides recommend meditating on (or just taking a few minutes to think about) the sentiment shared in each affirmation. That can be helpful. You may also want to take a photo of your affirmation, then print and post it around your house, or set it as your computer or phone background screen. Soaking yourself in positivity tends to change negative emotions with time especially when used as part of a mental health maintenance regimen, such as reframing negative thoughts, exploring false beliefs that drive those thoughts, and regularly working to resolve traumatic experiences.
I can imagine this little book being kept bedside, in a bookbag, in a work drawer, or even in the glove compartment of your car for quick access to a helpful pick-me-up. If you're looking for a handy resource to keep your mind positive, Love Yourself may be the right fit for you. And don't let the affirming stop once you've finished the book! You can create these same types of affirmations as you become more proficient in thinking along these lines. Love yourself to the best of who you are and which how your life improves because of it.