Simply Sydnie

Sydnie Harrell, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It is hard to sit here, in my bedroom, and write about my personal experiences when the “virus that shall not be named” seems to have taken over mine, and everyone’s life. However, I have learned that if all I feel that I am able to do is focus on the negativity a situation presents, then I should do what I can in my power to fix that for myself and those I am social distancing with.

Lately, small tasks and plans have seemed to make me extremely overwhelmed and mentally exhausted, a common problem a lot of my peers are struggling with as well. Through some of my own researching, something I have had a lot of free time to do lately, I have learned about the benefits of affirmations.

First of all, what exactly is an affirmation? This was a question I had when I first stumbled upon the topic. An affirmation is the action of giving emotional support or encouragement to oneself or others. It can be through words, actions or physical touch like high-fives and hugs.

So, I started to practice the act of affirming myself. When I began to get anxious or stressed about a homework assignment or the world around me, I would think to “I am capable” and “I am going to succeed.” I know, it probably sounds cheesy, but I was so surprised with the relaxation and relief it brought me.

Too often, teenagers doubt their abilities to do things because they are focused on the possibility of failing versus the chance of succeeding; this is something I’m guilty of. I could have a 99.9% chance of doing well in an activity, but that .1% possibility of failure would be the only thing I could think about. Affirmations allow me to shift my focus to the positive side of situations.

Now when I face day-to-day frustrations, I choose to give myself an affirmation. Sometimes, when thinking the short phrases does not do the trick for my mentality, I write them down in my journal or say them aloud. All three options have been helpful to me in different circumstances.

On the other side of things, I know how reassuring it can feel when someone gives me a hug or a compliment, specifically when they notice I am not acting as my best self. Giving affirmations to others is just as important as giving them to oneself, and it can be beneficial for both parties.

It does not have to be a cheesy phrase or a cringey fist bump that motivates someone. I have learned natural and comfortable ways to give someone the confidence boost they need: notice details, be present, show interest, develop trust, listen first, point out progress, practice respect and exhibit appreciation. Of course, a hug or a pat on the back might be just what someone needs as well.

I know that this topic may read as tacky and not personal, but I cannot stress how much this simple action has helped me and my relationships prosper. I have noticed that I am more confident in my actions and that others are more comfortable to be themselves around me.

It is impossible to know what someone is thinking at all times. They could broadcast joy and positivity but feel fear and insecurity in any given moment. Especially today, people have too much pressure on themselves and others to be perfect. By practicing affirmations, I think ourselves and the world around us will only reap positive benefits.