Mindset

“Slow Down, Nelly!”

I say that to myself when I am getting carried away in my head with escalating thoughts. It quickly snaps me out of it without me needing to criticize myself. It stems from a memory of riding in my highschool friend’s oldsmobile with him. It wasn’t a fast car, and he wasn’t a fast driver. But one day, he gunned it a little too hard, and said in a funny accent, “Slow down, Nelly“, patting the dashboard like it was his horse. I still crack up at the unexpected memory of it. That phrase holds an image in my head and is attached to humor. That’s why I think it works so well.

Do you ever say things like that to yourself? And I don’t mean in a depreciating way, but a fun way. I’ve had more phrases like that pop into my head throughout the years. I used to get angry in the crazy traffic of interstate 277…so many people merging on and off in such a short space, often driving too fast. I would get annoyed, frustrated, or scared when people cut me off… especially if I had been waiting in a long line to merge and was running late for work. But one day as the another car was trying to squeeze in front of me last minute instead of waiting their turn, it just floated into my head, “I’ll allow it.” I started laughing! It was because with the words came the image from an episode of the long running mockumentary, The Office. It was the episode where the nerdy and powerless Dwight believed he had a powerful title and was in charge as his boss was out for the day. So when Jim wanted to do Office Olympics and goof off, he approached Dwight as if he were a king or a judge to get permission….using words like “Your Honor”. Everyone in the office knew that Dwight did not have any power, but they deferred to him in jest. Dwight benignly said as if bestowing on them a favor, “I’ll allow it.” And here I was, no queen or person of power, but if I pretended it was my choice that I was handing a favor over to someone, it was easy. It made me laugh at my own Dwight-like illusions. And I have used that phrase ever since. It’s immediate effect always calms me and makes me feel as though it was my choice to be magnanimous.

There is a whole movement of using positive affirmations and I do think they have merit. But I think they should come from yourself. From your own experiences and your own inner knowing. It comes to me when I ask for help in prayer. I love the way God answers me with a memory, an image, and humor. Believe that it can be easy and it will become so.

What do you think of positive affirmations? Do they work for you? Have you tried creating your own sayings? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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