Did you know that the words “I am” are the two most powerful words in the English language?
Our subconscious mind takes the words “I am” and translates it as a command, something of certainty.
So if you’ve heard people talking about the power of practising affirmations or doing visualisation, one of the most important things is that they use the present tense and describe the thing that they want as if it has already happened, or is happening.
We can use affirmations to make ourselves feel as if we already have what we want, doing things we want, and feeling the way we want to feel. Sort of tricking the mind into a positive and calm and empowering place.
On the stage
I performed on Sunday night with the chorus I sing with, The White Rosettes. Before we go on stage as singers, we warm up and practise and our MD often talks to us about visualising the audience enjoying themselves, how we want to make them feel via our lyrics & sound, imagine the lights shining on us and our smiling huge grins into the audience as we thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
Which sounds great doesn’t it? But the reality is that when you step out on that stage you’re inevitably going to have nerves and adrenalin kicking in. Just as you would if you were going for an important job interview, or about to give a speech at a wedding.
And what can then happen at such a time is that negative self-talk kicks in. Your thoughts go off in unhelpful directions and as a result you have physical reactions such as tension in your body, stomach clenching, breathing faster.
On Sunday, I was chatting to one of my chorus friends before going on stage and she was telling me that she actually hates singing on stage. She loves singing in rehearsals and when we have informal sing-outs, but when it comes to large stages and competitive environments the fear kicks in and she starts to tense up and it becomes just something to be tolerated and got through as quickly as possible.
I asked her what thoughts is she aware of when she is on the stage. She told me that her head is full of “oh god, this is so terrifying, what if I do this [or that] wrong, what if I fall off the risers, what if I faint or what if I let everyone down…I just want it to be over….”
You can see what’s happening here, can’t you?!
So I asked her to try out some different chitter-chatter on the stage that night. I told her some of the things I say as I go onstage.
💫 I am absolutely loving being here tonight!
💫I am so happy that I get the opportunity to do this.
💫I am really making sure I sing my heart out tonight and give it my best.
💫I am an amazing singer and the audience are loving this.
💫I am bloody brilliant at this, lucky me.
💫I am feeling free and happy and so relaxed.
I consciously choose thoughts to make me smile and feel strong. I put my shoulders back and root my feet to the floor.
She was laughing shyly (and looking at me as if I was an ego-maniac) but said she’d give it a go. As I wandered off to apply some more lipstick I asked some of the other women what things they said to themselves as they went on stage. They struck some wonder-woman positions and exclaimed with passion “I am f***ing amazing. I am totally incredible. I am a champion!” It made us laugh! Wahoo!
Off we went – and I had a great time on stage. These days – although I’m by no means nerves-free – I feel calm and controlled and able to lose myself in the music for large portions of the time (which has the result of course, that I’m not actually thinking of anything at all. Just being present and engrossed in making art).
Afterwards my friend was enthused and glowing – told me “wow, that was literally the best time I’ve had on stage ever. That was an amazing feeling. So simple but it worked so well. Thank you thank you!”
(The thing is, we don’t need to know how it works, we just need to trust it and give it a go and see what happens.)
As an aside, a year or so ago I wrote some cool affirmations for my 8 year old Ruby and made her start saying them to me every night before bed. She hated it and would mumble and not look me in the eye. I persevered and over time she grew to love it. She now calls it her “poem” and she demands to recite it to me and won’t sleep unless she has. She says the words with passion and she has added in her own new words along the way. She recently told me that she sometimes says her “poem” to herself if she’s nervous at school.
“I am clever, I am funny, I am beautiful and my family and friends love me so so much. I’m absolutely brilliant at so many things and I always try my best and don’t give up. I am Ruby Flower.”
Why don’t you try out the power of I AM and see what happens for you! Or if you already use affirmations regularly in your life, share how it’s helped you.
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P.P.S A lovely book I recommend if you want some help or inspiration to create affirmations is Louise Hay’s “Heart Thoughts”