Sometimes, my inner dialogue can be pretty negative, and this is coming from someone who believes wholeheartedly in the power of positive thinking. I can’t seem to help it—it’s so easy to slip into negative thought patterns once they start.

Recently, I got so fed up with my thoughts, I started reading a book called Mirror Work: 21 Days to Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. The book is all about using positive self talk to decrease fear, increase empathy, and reduce stress. Each day, the author gives readers positive affirmations to say in a mirror or whenever you see your reflection.

“All of your self-talk, the dialogue in your head, is a stream of affirmations,” Hay says. “These affirmations are messages to your subconscious that establish habitual ways of thinking and behaving.”

That quote convicted me right away: My current thoughts were starting to negatively shape my behavior. I started my day with a negative outlook and ended the day with an even worse one. Everything I said and did started to have a dismal tint to it. I could sense it and my family could sense it, too.

A few months ago, my husband, Kevin, and I started reciting affirmations with our three-year-old daughter, Arden, every night. Some of Arden’s daily affirmations are:

I am a child of God.
I am smart, funny, and beautiful on the inside and outside.
I am brave.
I am safe.
I am loved by my family and friends.
I can do hard things.

At first, this practice of reciting daily affirmations was a way for me to get a jumpstart on sight words (that generational teacher blood runs deep within my veins). But now, we use them as a daily reminder for Arden about who she is and what she can do. I’ll never forget the time when I heard Arden repeatedly muttering to herself, “I can do hard things. I can do hard things,” as she struggled to open something on her own.

I could use those reminders myself.

Arden demonstrated in that moment the power of affirmations in our daily lives—they become embedded nuggets of wisdom that can be applied whenever necessary. We become what we think about, for better or for worse. I think it’s pretty important for us as parents to start the healing work on our thought lives so we can pass along a true, positive self talk practice to our kids.

How has your thought life been lately? Do you recite daily affirmations? If so, what are they? Share them in the comments section below!