Daily affirmations were not invented by Saturday Night Live's Stuart Smalley, but this character played by comedian Al Franken popularized - though undoubtedly also mocked - the idea of affirmations. Even if you don't know the origin, I'm sure most people can recite Stuart's mantra "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."Did this affirmation play a role in jettisoning this comedian to becoming a two term United States senator? Maybe, though we probably shouldn't discount his Harvard education. In all seriousness I do believe the daily intentions we set, whether by way of a positive affirmation or a general positive attitude can greatly direct the course of our day and our life.
I have used affirmation as a tool to set positive intention for myself at times when I felt very bleak. My first experience with affirmation was in the summer of 2006. I was daunted by the task of preparing for my critical care specialty board exams. A trusted advisor, my husband, suggested I use affirmation. I was skeptical, but what harm could it do? I wrote and recited an affirmation each day along with a lot of studying for those three months in preparation for boards. The great news is that I passed! But when I look back a more important lesson learned that summer was how to create a positive attitude.
Though I will never be an outwardly joyful person, I recognize, admire and enjoy working with people who are positive and upbeat. Fortunately veterinary medicine draws an abundance of truly joyful people so I have the pleasure of working with many of them. Not being a naturally optimistic person, remaining positive is something I work on daily - it is a goal that is worth the effort it takes. If you find yourself despairing, I would suggest emulating the positive people around you, and also letting go of the mocking sterotype of Stuart Smalley. Try reciting a positive affirmation.