These 21 empowering phrases will help you survive anything.

We all have brushes with self-doubt. Hey, we're human.

And this time of year can be especially challenging in the confidence department. 'Tis the season for rich foods, fancy parties, and family members you haven't seen in months. It's easy to get bogged down in worry, judgment, comparison, and doubt.

One way to stay positive during the holidays is to incorporate mantras and affirmations into your routine.


Research from Carnegie Mellon University shows self-affirmations can improve problem-solving abilities and protect against stress.

So this holiday season, before anxiety and self-doubt creep in, give yourself a break. Take a moment to breathe deeply and repeat one or more of these phrases. Taking a moment to pause and center yourself might just be what you need to get the most out of the festivities.


1. "I don't like myself, I'm crazy about myself." — Mae West


2. It's OK to cut loose.

This is your time to relax, unwind, and celebrate the season with friends and family. If that means dancing with your cousins in the kitchen to "Hotline Bling," or eating the last piece of pie all by yourself, so be it. Dance. Laugh. Go nuts! It's your holiday season, celebrate as you see fit.

Photo via iStock.

3. "I see the perfection in all my flaws and all my genius."


4. Steer your own ship.

It's easy to be swayed by everyone else. Coming home to discover what friends and family are up to and seeing how everyone's changed can be tough. It's hard not to get bogged down in comparisons. That's why it's so important to remember that you have a say when it comes to your mood or actions.

And whether you have a great time or a miserable one depends a lot on where you steer your ship.

Photo via iStock.

5. "I will let go of what is no longer serving me and make room for what inspires me."


6. "I belong here."

You belong wherever you want to be. Even if your Aunt Kathy made an offhand comment that makes you feel small or out of place, you belong exactly where you are right now. You're not in the way, you're not a bother or a pest. You're a part of the group, and the group is better because of it.

7. You are strong.

Get back, blue. Move over, orange. Whether you're more suited to warm tones, cool shades, or neutrals, everyone looks good when they're feeling strong. If the holidays are especially draining for you, physically or mentally, don't hesitate to remind yourself just how capable you really are.

Photo via iStock.

8. "To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven." — Allen Cohen


9. Everything will be OK.

Photo via iStock.

10. "This is it, this is the only body I've got." — Whitney Thompson


11. "I define my worth, and I am worthy."

Around the holidays, it's easy to let family, old friends, or even the bathroom scale define you. But you get decide who you are and what makes you unique, no one else. So let Grandma Mabel go on and on about why you should settle down already. You're the only one you need to listen to.

12. You know yourself better than anyone else.

When stressful situations arise this season, you may not always be the picture of calm and poise you always envisioned. It's important to grant yourself a little grace. You need to be kind and patient with yourself so that you can extend that same courtesy to everyone else.

Photo via iStock.

13. "Yeah, I'm fat — but I'm also all the good things that I am." — Tess Holliday

None of us are defined by any one particular attribute. Plus-size model and all-around-badass Tess Holliday did not say this to imply that being fat is bad (because, just to be clear, FAT IS NOT BAD). Fat is just one more adjective without moral value, good or bad (see: tall, short, left-handed, blue-eyed). No matter how you describe yourself, what's important is appreciating and respecting yourself for the multitude of wonderful things that you are and expecting and appreciating the same in others.

14. "What other people think of me is none of my business."


15. *nail polish emoji*

Admit it: You're really, really good. Good looking. Good natured. Kind and generous. A whiz in the kitchen and quick with a joke with a keen sense of direction. OK, OK, maybe you're not all of these things, but you're definitely filled to the brim with talent and kindness. And that's all you need to stand-up and declare your awesomeness.

Photo via iStock.

16. "I am beneath no one." — Jim Kellner

Is your older sister back from her trip around the world making knit sweaters for senior dogs in need? Did your younger brother finally invent that cure for athlete's foot? Good for them! But don't let someone else's success cloud the way you feel about yourself. There's enough love, praise, and talent to go around. Don't dim your light just so others can shine.

17. Your brain is the most powerful muscle you've got.

Photo via iStock.

18. "I choose to think thoughts that serve me well."

As Mark Twain once said, "Worrying is like paying a debt you don't owe." There's plenty to worry and stress about during the holidays, but instead of giving in to negative thinking, try to stay present and think constructive, positive thoughts.

19. Be your own BFF.

Photo via iStock.

20. "My life is unfolding beautifully."

Your life, with all of its twists, turns, and surprises, is one helluva story. And it's a really good one. So when you bump into old friends who seem to have it all figured out, remember: (a) They don't, and (b) don't let comparison and self-doubt get in the way of celebrating your successes, big or small.

21. You got this.

Photo via iStock.

This holiday season, and throughout the year, remember to take good care of yourself.

Do what feels right for you, and do your best not to worry about everyone else. As my good-friend-if-we-only-met Emma Stone once said, "You're a human being, you live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake."

Droolworthy photo via iStock.

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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