“We did it!”

When I was in high school, my friend Cara and I would share our dreams and enthusiastically coach each other into believing them into truth. We concurred that thinking of our dreams as having already happened and speaking of them in the past tense, telling each other stories about what had already occurred, was one way to take them further into manifestation. Thus was borne our mutual and enthusiastic cheer, “We did it!” We would say this to each other whenever we parted. When my family moved away at the end of my junior year, we gave each other silver bracelets with this phrase engraved on top, and our names on the back.

Sometimes, I wondered if telling each other stories and using the past tense might not be such a positive exercise. I wondered if perhaps it was simply a case of two girls descending further into the Lala land of our imaginations … and further away from a focus on ‘reality.’ Now, however, I realize there was something to it. There’s a lot to be said for moving into belief. (Mind you, I’m also an actress and Lala Land was exactly where I ended up. So hey, maybe it worked!)

There are many ways to affirm the vision of one’s future. Affirmations, in general, tend to get a little ridiculed, though there’s certainly nothing wrong with the idea of feeding yourself positive statements throughout the course of the day. (Frankly, the negative ones seem to come all too naturally for most people.)

Some life coaches will tell you this: when you want to realize something in your life, get very specific on how you want that to look. See it in your head. Affirm it constantly. Personally, I don’t tend to set my sights on results. For me, it’s the journey that I want to affirm. (That probably comes from how I grew up, moving from country to country and never knowing how long I’d be in one place.) My feeling is we’re always in the journey. Right? We may experience temporary bliss upon having achieved a particular goal, but then, we’re back into the journey almost instantly. There is no there there.

So given this, I want to affirm a joyous and fulfilling journey. A journey that leads to many wonderful surprises and discoveries. A journey filled with love and laughter. A journey where my inner being feels whole and at peace. I actually like not knowing exactly where I’m going. I steer myself as best I can, but I like to stay open and to let the rest reveal itself. I even do this when I go on a long hike. I don’t like to look at the destined peak ahead and factor in the distance between us. I know it’s there and I know that’s where I’ll be eventually, but unless I need to look at a map or track my path, I like to be in the moment to experience the unfolding of the journey. I’ll look back and see the course behind me later. I’m better at that. Then, that course is a known and experienced entity.

Positive thinking is something we all could use. I made an affirmation tape for myself years ago, when I was living in L.A. I would listen to it in the car as I drove to and from auditions. The affirmations I chose for myself were based on the general themes of creative fulfillment, health, happiness and love. I recorded them in my own voice. I used the first person and the present tense and affirmed all the qualities of a life that I wanted to fully realize. I listened to that tape when I went to meet with a top commercial agent in L.A. and I felt really upbeat during our meeting. She signed me on. I listened to that tape on the way to an audition for Star Trek, and I remember feeling really grounded, really connected, when I waited in the hallway to go in and read. Later that day, they called to tell me I got the role.

Mind you, there were many more days and many more car trips to audition after audition after audition that I didn’t land too; and there were days when I couldn’t bring myself to listen to that damn tape again. It bored me. It was repetitive and it felt ridiculous and I told myself that it didn’t work. But I forced myself to listen anyway, thinking of it like I would if I was going to the gym; it was my daily mental and emotional exercise. By exercising my brain this way, I allowed myself to default to a more positive place on a more frequent basis. And that could only help me in the long run.

Affirmations can be created in a number of ways. From the positive statements we repeat to ourselves each day, to the visualizations of something we want in our future, or even to using the present tense to talk about these things as if they’ve already happened. Positive thinking is always a good idea. It beats telling ourselves we’re not good enough, we aren’t liked and problems are all that await us. I say bring ’em on.
Dare to be fabulous every day.



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  1. I believe in affirmations – even if their reach is only for the brief moment I say or think them. For that moment I am lifted higher. I believe they become more powerful with consistent practice and I thank you for the reminder to make it a practice and focus on the journey. Very insightful.

  2. Lori, I totally agree with you. It's possible for people to get caught up in the idea that they're supposed to be positive all the time, which is not only unrealistic, it's unhealthy. The idea for me, in doing affirmations, is only to help etch a new groove of positive thinking and self confidence where the cynical or self judging voices usually come into play. However, feeling grief and processing the very real situation of one's life is also crucial. Thank you for making sure that was emphasized here.


  3. Thank you for a wonderful story and a great post, Johanna. Roxanne LOVED affirmations and recited them frequently.

    Although I have a problem with "You just have to think positively and everything will be just fine" (as you know, one of the 20 things people with cancer want you to know from my book is "Telling me to think positively can make me feel worse"), making affirmations can be tremendously helpful in realizing your desires, and I do love the idea of talking about something you hope for in the past tense, as if it had already happened.

    It's important, however, that we accept feelings of fear and sadness and let them pass through us without judging ourselves. Sometimes sadness and fear are appropriate responses, especially to illness or grief.

    AND – attempting to see the glass as half full, once we've let ourselves experience fear or grief, helps keep hope alive.

    Again, my thanks. You are totally fabulous!

    Always hope,