12 Days of Affirmations · 23 January 2021

My sister had an interesting and wonderful idea for Christmas last year (which was just a few weeks ago). She thought we should give each other 12 days of affirmations.

In case you do not know, affirmations are statements about people telling them truths about who they are. Affirmations are different from compliments in that they need to be true. Of course, most people spot insincere compliments a mile away, but that is a completely different story.

At any rate, my mom is not one to worry about getting consensus (especially with a good idea), so she ran with it. She asked who wanted to participate and threw those names into a hat (actually a box). Actually, she must have made two lists of names and put them in two hats. Or maybe she just used one hat twice, once for the giver and once for the receiver. (That makes more sense.) At any rate, she made a list of who was giving affirmations to whom.

The rules were simple. Write down 12 affirmations about the person and send them to the other person. The other person would then get 12 days of Christmas affirmations.

As a side note, the number of affirmations was discussed. After all, in the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the receiver of the gifts, which is you if you are singing the song, got way more than 12 gifts. In fact, you get 12 partridges in 12 pear trees, 22 turtledoves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a-laying, 42 swans a-swimming, 40 maids a-milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a-leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming. So might the receiver of affirmations expect to get that many gifts? The answer was indeed a firm “No.”

(By the way, if you want to do the math for the song, just think about how many times you sing each gift and the number of gifts given on the different days. Then, multiply. I did that to get all the numbers. 12 (1 × 12), 22 (2 × 11), 30 (3 × 10), 36 (4 × 9), 40 (5 × 8), 42 (6 × 7), 42 (7 × 6), 40 (8 × 5), 36 (9 × 4), 30 (10 × 3), 22 (11 × 2), 12 (12 × 1). Just in case you were wondering.)

Once we got our assignments, we set to work.

It might seem obvious, but giving affirmations is not always that easy. It ought to be, but we spend so much time thinking about what is wrong in the world that we often forget what is right. The same is true of people. We often see their faults long before we see their virtues. So affirmations might be difficult. At least at first. But it is not really that difficult to find a dozen things you like or admire about somebody.

I have been thoroughly pleased with the affirmations sent to me by one of my brothers. And each day I have looked forward to seeing what he wrote. I have also been thrilled with the affirmations sent to my wife by my other brother. You can tell that we all think alike because we each went to the source of truth for many, if not all of the affirmations we wrote. All three of us (I am not sure who else did, because I only know the ones I sent and received), used at least some Bible verses to start our affirmations. The affirmations I received have a Bible verse and thought about that verse on one side of a 3×5 card. The other side contains a hand-written note about what my brother sees and often admires in me.

I have been blessed and amazed by my brothers and their thoughts toward my wife and me. The 12 days of Christmas affirmations have been a great success. At least on this end. But the big takeaway for me is that we all can use some affirmations every day. We can all use a bit of cheering up from somebody who knows us well and can give us a little positivity.

(As another side note, I will be the first to tell you that I really do take teasing as a sign of love. Really. People can and do tease me often, and I take it in the loving way it is given. But as much as I see teasing as a sign of love, I must say that getting affirmations is better. Yes, affirmations can be difficult to give, especially in person. But affirmations are a wonderful gift. A thoughtful gift. A blessed gift.)

My sister’s idea of giving affirmations for Christmas was a huge success in my eyes. It got me thinking deeply about my person and how she might benefit from the words I sent her. And the affirmations my brother gave to me have been a wonderful treasure. I will miss reading new affirmations each day. But I also know that I can go back to the ones I received whenever I want.

Like I said, my sister’s idea of giving affirmations for Christmas was a huge success. And I would certainly recommend that we all give those we love at least twelve days of affirmations each year.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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