Happy New Year! We’re already a week into 2018 – can you believe it? For the past couple years I’ve written posts sharing new year’s resolutions for lymphies, but this year I wanted to suggest something different: affirmations.

Affirmations are empowering or inspiring statements you repeat to yourself, similar to mantras or positive self-talk. Some say affirmations work because they rewire the mind into believing the statement as truth. Others view it as a spiritual practice, a way to speak things into existence: send good things out into the universe, and the universe will send good things back to you.

If you’re a little skeptical of this sort of thing, I get it. Thinking positively won’t make our lymphedema go away, nor will it lessen the burden of life with a chronic condition. But we can make the conscious choice to try.

Like author Carlos Castenada once said, “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

Affirmations for lymphies

This year, give affirmations a go. Say them out loud to your reflection in the mirror each morning. Write them down in your journal or as a reminder in your calendar. Repeat them to yourself when you feel anxious or stressed.

However and whenever you say them, say it with conviction and confidence. We keep our lymphedema limbs elevated – why not elevate our words, too?

Here are four examples to get you started:

1. “My lymphedema does not define who I am.”

Why say it: Living with a chronic condition can be overwhelming. Managing our lymphedema consumes so much of our time and attention that it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves amidst the compression bandages and treatment routines.

What this affirms: You are more than your diagnosis. Don’t just take care of your lymphedema – take care of you, too.

2. “I am capable of making choices that benefit my health and happiness.”

Why say it: Every day is made up of hundreds upon hundreds of choices. From seemingly minor decisions like what we eat and drink or the temperature of our bath water to more direct ones, like opting whether or not to wear our compression – a good chunk of these daily choices have the potential to affect our lymphedema.

What this affirms: You are in control of the choices you make. Be mindful of making ones that will benefit you and your lymphedema in positive ways.

3. “I accept life on life’s terms.”

Why say it: Life has a tendency to just… happen. Sometimes it’s painful and confusing, other times it’s surprising and wonderful. Mostly, though, it just is. If we fight to control the things we cannot, we’ll likely end up disappointed, frustrated, or angry.

What this affirms: You’re always in the right place at the right time, even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. Accepting your limitations allows you to greet each day with equanimity.

4. “I am loved deeply.”

Why say it: Living with lymphedema can sometimes make us feel as though we are unlovable. We may see ourselves as ugly, damaged, or a burden, and assume others must see us the same way.

What this affirms: You are deserving of love from others and from yourself. Know that there are people in your life who love you so much, lymphedema and all.

A graphic reading,

Do you practice affirmations? What are some affirming phrases you tell yourself?