Do You Need to Affirm Yourself?

Sometimes, especially when I am going through stressful times, I need to remind myself to take a step back, take a deep breath and recenter. I remember a time in my life when I was feeling especially positive and a poem I wrote for a friend at the time. Here it is:

Self Affirmation

I have permission to take care of myself.

I exercise and eat right

Because I love the “me” I see in the mirror.


When I take care of myself,

I look at the world through clearer eyes,

As I rest quietly,

Meditating upon the positives in my life,

Inverting problems to find solutions,

Decisions come more easily,

I have patience with myself and others,

Strength returns with my convictions.


Peace and happiness reside in my heart,

I feel joy in waking to a new day,

My energy is refreshed.

Darian Slayton Fleming

Christmas, 2000

How Are You Doing on Your New Year’s Resolutions?

How are you progressing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you sticking to them completely, some of the time, not at all? What is it about making resolutions that causes us so much difficulty following through? What can we do to improve our chances for success?

Sign that says "New Year's Resolutions" against blue skyWhen we make resolutions, we are setting goals. It is necessary to develop action plans in order to achieve change. When we set goals, we need to realize that achieving them is a process. We can’t get from point A to Point B without taking the necessary steps to get there.

Set “SMART Goals”

These are plans that are “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Attainable”, “Realistic” and
“Timely”. Write down specific goal statements; this will help reinforce your commitment to accomplishing them.

For example, if your desire is to lose weight, state that you will exercise three days a week at your gym in order to lose five pounds in February. This statement makes your achievement measureable. It is also more attainable and realistic than expecting to lose twenty pounds in one month. This statement defines the time-line in which you hope to accomplish the goal. If we break tasks down into smaller, more attainable pieces, we see our results more readily, thus achieving the instant gratification we often need. Once a small goal is achieved, we will have the confidence to set another goal and repeat the process.

Work on Positive Self-Talk

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it to the gym one day. Tell yourself you
made it the first day this week or three days last week. Then commit to going tomorrow.

Ask for Support

Tell someone you trust about your plan. Arrange to exercise with someone else. Find someone to talk with daily or weekly. If we ask others for support, we receive encouragement, hold ourselves accountable and feel less stressed. Setting and accomplishing goals is easier to write and read about than to do in reality. Sometimes we need a little help from friends or even confidential counselors.

For more information on this and other self-help topics, check out

Originally published in Open Doors of Rose City Park United Methodist Church.

Thumbtack Spotlight on Darian Slayton Fleming Counseling and Consulting

“Co-workers and friends appreciate my knowledge and understanding. Employers have complimented me on my counseling style, report writing, timely follow-through, and organizational skills. These factors inspired me to build my private practice in order to utilize my unique skill set and experience to help others resolve issues and find peace of mind.”

Learn more about me and my practice in my Thumbtack Spotlight.

Facing My Fear and Skydiving Anyway

What happened the day I literally jumped blind.

My husband, John, is a skydiver–the first we know of who is blind. He has 1,938 jumps with over 1,200 of them since he lost his sight.

John has never insisted that I try skydiving, and I was pretty sure I would never be crazy enough to try. Then, one weekend we went to a skydiving boogie in Pacific City on the Northern Oregon Coast. The ocean is my all-time favorite place. So the morning of the boogie, I surprised him. I said that, that since I love the beach so much, if I was going to experience skydiving anywhere, I wanted to do it over the ocean. He asked me if I was serious, and despite my trepidation, I said yes.

John discussed my request with our friends who offered their plane. They introduced him to the best tandem masters in attendance at the event. John introduced me to Rick, who was very experienced and confident; plus, he had jumped with other people who had disabilities.

Then the fun began. Rick explained how the dive was going to work and what I needed to do. The next thing I knew I was boarding the plane. When the time came to exit, I put my feet out on the step, as I was told, but I froze. Now what was I supposed to do? Throw myself out? Catapult? Stand up and jump?

Image of Darian about to jump out of airplane

Rick took over and suddenly I found myself hurtling through the air.

Image of Darian and Rick right after they jumped out of the airplane. The plane is just above them and they are in free fall.

Free-fall was very intense. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. It took my breath away. I think I was so intent on not freaking out that I never screamed or anything.

Image of Darian and Rick skydiving, the land is far beneath them.

Rick talked to me, telling me to wave at the video camera. I forgot all of the instructions about what to do with my legs and feet. I lay in the air waiting to see what would happen next and wondering when next would be. It seemed we were in free-fall forever.

Image of Rick and Darian's skydive, Darian is waving at the camera.

Then we flipped over and I was face up, practically sitting in the air. Rick showed me how to use the steering toggles and directed me. We were flying. It was so peaceful and quiet. I could see the ocean and Haystack Rock. I wanted to stay up there.

Image of Rick and Darian skydiving, they are just about to land on a beach

As we dropped, Rick told me we were fifty feet from the ground. I forgot to put my legs straight out in front of me, so my right foot hit first, and hard. I felt my foot twist.

I was on the ground and still feeling shell-shocked and exhilarated. As my friends and husband hugged me (that’s him in the cap with flames on it), I was shaking like a leaf.

Image of Darian's friends around her congratulating her on her jump

I’ve always dared to try new things just because I probably shouldn’t. In my husband’s arms, I knew I was safe, in my favorite place, and proud of my accomplishment. My skydive was terrifyingly thrilling!