Happy New Year!
Are you one of the millions of people who’ve made a list of resolutions for 2012?
Are any of those resolutions health-related?
Many Americans today find themselves struggling with excess weight, fatigue and a host of other physical problems. Research tells us that one of the culprits responsible for these ailments is excess sugar.
Did you know?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends how much sugar per day we should we take into our bodies:
- Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Men: 36 grams or 9 teaspoons
- Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Women: 20 grams or 5 teaspoons
- Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Children: 12 grams or 3 teaspoons
Yet the average adult consumes 36 teaspoons of sugar PER DAY! This excess sugar is then stored as FAT our bodies and reduces our ability to fight disease.
This year, I’d like to challenge you to replace some of the sugar in your diet with something even sweeter: Affirmation.
No, affirmation won’t make your coffee sweeter but it will make you a sweeter person!
Just as our bodies need food to give us energy, our spirits need nourishment in order to thrive. Affirmations (like the kind written in Nick Notes) are what Robert J. Furey calls “Spiritual Food”.
AFFIRMATION IS SPIRITUAL FOOD
We all need affirmation. We need to know that we are seen and appreciated, noticed and valued. An affirmation is a communication whereby one person recognizes what is sacred in another. Albert Schweitzer once described affirmation as a spiritual act. He was right. An affirmation is rainwater for the spirit. Affirmation nurtures the soul.
Affirmation is more than a compliment. It is deeper than that. Affirmation is an expression of gratitude. It’s my way of thanking you for the gifts you bring to the world. It’s my way of saying I recognize and am thankful for your contributions, your inner beauty, your kindness. Affirmation is not about judgment (as some compliments are). Affirmaton is about honest gratitude.
Affirmation is an art. It takes practice. Some people take to it naturally while others seem to need a little more time to develop this skill. The more you look for gifts in people, the easier it gets to see them. And the expression of affirmation becomes more graceful with experience. As you become more adept at affirmation, you will become more aware of its power.
But there are risks. Fear keeps so many of us from practicing affirmation. If I try to affirm you, maybe you won’t care. Or worse, maybe you will ridicule me. And what if what I say sounds like manipulation? What if I can’t make an affirmation sound sincere? In short, when should I affirm someone?
If you are close enough to see or feel someone’s gifts, you are close enough to express appreciation. Sincere affirmation is always right, even when a person does not know how to receive it. Sorry to say, many people go through life without hearing nearly enough affirmation. Thus they may distrust it when it is sent their way.
The unaffirmed live their lives starving for recognition and appreciation. Their wounds never close by themselves nor do they stop hurting. Instead, they remain unhealed until they receive the affirmation for which they long. Some will wall themselves off and present themselves to the world with an attitude that says, “I don’t need you. In fact, I don’t need anyone.” If they are to live without affirmation, they want to believe that, at least, they are in control. They want to feel that they are turning away (and thus in control of) the affirmation that is missing from their lives. From behind this wall they neither give nor receive affirmation. Consequently, they separate themselves from a world they are longing to join.
This isolation damages one’s entire being. Genuine happiness becomes very unlikely. Enthusiasm for life withers. But this dreadful condition can be reversed. And you don’t have to wait for someone to come along to affirm you. You can improve the quality of your life by affirming others. Practice it. Stay with it. The rewards will come. Among these rewards will be the affirmation you need. When you teach those around you how to affirm, affirmation will inevitably –in time –come back to you.
Affirmation is spiritual resuscitation. Furthermore, I believe we often hear our callings in the affirmation we receive. And, by the way, I also think that we are called to affirm others. Then there’s the ripple effect. Affirmations move through and beyond people. They tend to get passed on.
For the next 12 months, I challenge you to do something good for your body and good for the world. The next time you’re tempted to eat a cookie or sprinkle another teaspoon of sugar into your coffee, I propose a substitution. (No, I’m not talking about using Splenda or Sweet and Low.) Instead of eating something sweet, I challenge you to stop and write a Nick Note to someone instead. By the time you’re finished, I’m willing to bet that your sugar craving will have passed and you’ll find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled than if you’d given into the sweet treat you were thinking of eating in the first place.
Think you’re up to the challenge?
If so, leave a comment below saying, “I’m in!” and then check back with us in a few months to let us know how this one simple substitution has changed your life.
Here’s to feeding our spirits more (and our bodies less) in 2012!