May I vs. I am: Rewording Our Affirmations


The daily affirmations we use are essential for our personal growth. They reinforce positivity, confidence, and self-awareness in our lives. They can also help us achieve any goal we set our minds to by redirecting our focus to the possibilities. Traditional affirmations begin with “I am” to state a positive thought or desire. For example:


I am worthy of the abundance coming into my life.


Last year, as a guest on Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour, Tracee Ellis Ross shared her insight on daily affirmations. She explained the alternative beginning to her affirmations, using “May I” instead of “I am,” and the difference this change has made in her life.


Watch below to see Oprah and Tracee's discussion on “May I” affirmations:



May I offers a gentle invitation while honoring where I am and gently invites me to where I want to go.”


Traditional affirmations that begin with “I am” often do not allow space for the parts of ourselves that feel unsure, confused, or uncomfortable about where we are in life. “I am” affirmations can become challenging to use if we ignore the reality of our feelings.


“May I” affirmations include the same positive self-talk as traditional affirmations. Although, “may I” affirmations honor where we are now while keeping the focus on where we’d like to be. Take a look at how you can transform your “I am” affirmations to “May I”:


I am successful → May I know that success is mine because I am worthy.

I am love → May I know that I am love so that I can accept love.

I am confident → May I know that I am a confident person.

I am wealthy → May I know that wealth flows into my life freely.


Affirming the reality of our personal growth is a significant part of self-care. “May I” allows us to be honest with ourselves--accepting that life’s progress is not linear. It has its ups and downs. “May I” helps you be patient with where you are, respecting the process of growth.


How will you transform your “I am’s” to “May I’s”?


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