Have you ever been hurt or encouraged by what someone said? Of course, you have. Such is the power of words. They can uplift us or depress us. They can shape us, make us, or break us. The messages that were constantly repeated to us as children have become a part of us. They sink into our subconscious and automatically replay in our mind as self-talk.
If you were constantly praised, you grew up with confidence. If you were constantly criticized, you grew up feeling powerless. If you were like most of us, you grew up with some praise and some criticism, so you are only partially screwed up. Once you are aware of the causes of your self-doubts, fears, anger and other forms of self-limiting behavior, you can do something about it. What can you do? You can replace the negative messages running through your brain with positive ones.
These positive messages are called affirmations. And with constant repetition, they will reach our subconscious. Once there, they will form new beliefs, which result in new behavior. Should you be practicing affirmations? Whether you agree with the practice or not, you are already doing so. You see, you are constantly talking to yourself. If those thoughts are positive and inspiring, great! Keep it up!
However, if you find negative thoughts flooding your mind and holding you back, it’s time to take control. It’s time to start affirming what you want in life and control your destiny. You can do this by creating and repeating your own affirmations.
Skeptical? Healthy skepticism is a good thing. After all, you don’t want to be gullible and waste valuable time by experimenting with worthless practices. But neither do you want to be narrow minded. For when you are, you lock the windows of your mind and prevent growth. When in doubt, investigate and arrive at your own conclusions. However, don’t scoff without knowing the facts.
Corporations spend millions in advertising. You are continuously exposed to the messages they send your way. Messages are stated or implied. And unashamedly, they make no attempt to back their claims with factual support. Their secret weapon is REPETITION. If the message is repeated often enough, it sinks into your subconscious and influences your (buying) behavior. They spend money on advertising because it works.
Would you rather be influenced by the thoughts of others or your own thoughts? If you want to erase the negativity that has been planted in your mind and regain the unlimited potential you briefly knew as an infant, it is time to consider affirmations. Now, let’s move on to what you should know about the proper construction of affirmations. The more you adhere to the following principles, the more effective your affirmations will be.
1. How to Compose Affirmations
a) State your goal as if you have already attained it. For example, Betty wishes to lose some weight and is thinking about repeating this affirmation, I am slim and healthy. Don’t say, “I WILL become slim and healthy,” otherwise your subconscious will keep postponing your desire to “someday” in the future. Instead say, “I AM slim and healthy.”
b) Be specific. Don’t just say, “I am slim and healthy.” After all, your subconscious doesn’t know how much you would like to lose, so it may stop after you lose one pound! Instead, say, “I am slim and healthy and weigh 128 pounds.”
c) Keep your affirmation brief. If you try to say too much, you lose focus. Zero in on one issue at a time. Once your affirmation begins to materialize, you can move on to another issue with a new affirmation.
d) Focus on what you want, not on what you want to avoid. For example, if you want to stop smoking, don’t say, “I don’t smoke” because that would focus on the behavior you’re trying to end. If you keep thinking about smoking, you’ll feel like smoking! Instead, focus on what you want by saying, “I live a healthy lifestyle.” Now the focus is on positive, healthy behavior. Don’t worry, once the message reaches your subconscious, it knows that it is necessary to stop smoking to achieve a healthy lifestyle, so it will automatically create the desire for you to quit.
e) Use the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person. When you speak to yourself, you use the first person. For example, you may say, “I am ugly.” But this thought was planted into your subconscious by people saying, “YOU are ugly.” Also, at times, you heard others speaking about you: “TOM is ugly.” Your subconscious is used to hearing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd persons, so do the same with your affirmation. In other words, “I am handsome. YOU are handsome. TOM (if your name is Tom) is handsome.”
f) Create your affirmation as a mini poem. When your write your affirmation as a mini poem it becomes as easy to remember and repeat as a nursery rhyme, and like your favorite song remains stuck in your mind. Here are some examples of this powerful technique that were written by Tanya Hahn and Jason Hundley
I am richer now than the day before, and tomorrow I’ll have even more.
I choose to follow my heart’s call, and share my gifts with one and all.
I joyfully watch my business grow.It exceeds beyond what I know.
I radiate love to all I see, and the universe radiates love back to me
All my relationships are at their best. They are happy, fun, and full of zest.
I am healthy, happy and free.My body is exactly where it needs to be.
2. IMPORTANT! Resolving Affirmation Conflict
Why would I create and use the affirmation, “I am confident”? Wouldn’t it be because I am NOT confident and wish to become so? Well, then, doesn’t that make the affirmation a lie? Wouldn’t I realize that I’m repeating a lie, and wouldn’t that conflict lessen the likelihood of my affirmation being accepted by my subconscious? Yes, that is true in many, if not most, cases. That’s why many people who practice affirmations find them ineffective.
If that’s the case, doesn’t that make this article pointless. No, because those who find affirmations ineffective do so because they haven’t been taught how to remedy affirmation conflict. Here are steps we can take to avoid the problem.
a) Reword the affirmation so it is believable. For instance, instead of “I am confident,” say, “I contain the seeds of confidence and courage and nurture them daily.” Or, simply say, “Each day I grow more and more confident.” The exact wording isn’t important, just as long as it is believable to you.
b) Realize that your affirmation is not a statement of fact, but an announcement of your goal. It is not a fact, but the first step in manifesting your dream. Here are two examples of a goal and affirmation meshed into one written by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
The whole world is my home and the human race, my family.
With God’s kindness I embrace all men.
Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do.
Behind my every act is God’s infinite power.
c) Use denial. Instead of merely stating, “I am confident,” say, “I am never cowardly. I am always confident.” If you only said “I am never cowardly,” you would be focusing on what you don’t want, but because it is immediately followed by, “I am always confident,” you immediately return the focus to what you do want. The denial announces to the subconscious that its present image of you as cowardly is false.
d) Here is another powerful technique: Use two sheets of paper. On one sheet write your affirmation 20 to 30 times. Each time you write the affirmation, immediately write the thoughts that come to mind on the second sheet. Keep repeating. Affirmation and response, affirmation and response. As you do so, you will find your responses slowing changing. For example, your thoughts may flow from, “I don’t think this stuff works,” to “I suppose it is possible,” to “I guess if I religiously practice it, it will work after all,” to “I want it to work. I know it will work. I’m going to keep practicing every day until it does work.”
e) The fifth method is to change your affirmation into a question. So, instead of, “I am courageous,” say “What do I need to do to grow courageous?” or “How can I become courageous?” Your affirmation becomes a question, which results in your subconscious searching for answers and inspiring you with a plan of action.
f) Noah St John has popularized a very effective variation of the question affirmation, which he calls an Afformation. The idea is to create a question based on the assumption that what you want is already true. For example, if you want to besuccessful, instead of creating the affirmation (statement) I am successful, create an afformation (question), such as Why am I so successful? When we repeatedly ask ourselves questions, our subconscious will automatically search for answers. After it has found them, it will cause us to behave in a manner that answers the question. So, if my afformation was Why am I so successful?, I may suddenly find myself watching less TV, focusing on what is important, acting with self-discipline, working longer hours or working smarter, getting along better with others, and doing many other things that make me more successful.
Now that I’ve Created My Affirmation/Afformation, what’s next?
1. Like advertising, affirmations or afformations owe their success to repetition. A good way to make sure you don’t forget to frequently repeat your favorite affirmations is to link them to activities you often do during the day. For example, if you walk from your desk to another part of the office several times a day, you can link your affirmations to walking. Here’s what I mean. As you leave your desk to walk somewhere else, you mentally say, “Each step I take brings me closer to my dreams.” Then follow this thought by mentally saying your favorite affirmations. So, every time you walk, it reminds you to say your affirmations. Also, notice that it doesn’t take any extra time to say them. Ordinarily your mind would just indulge in idle chatter as you walked. All you are doing is replacing useless babble with belief-transforming affirmations.
2. Expect results. Think of our expectations as a switch. Not an on-off switch, but a positive-negative switch. You see, the switch is always on, but it is set to either positive or negative expectations. When the switch is set to positive expectations, we experience, enthusiasm, excitement, passion, meaning, purpose, serenity, friendship, empowerment, confidence, happiness, and good health. Yet, when it is set to negative expectations, we experience fear, worry, anxiety, depression, unhappiness, failure, powerlessness, anger, resentment, loneliness, stress, and poor health. Because we will always live up or down to our expectations, it is critical for our success and happiness that we keep the switch set to Positive.
3. By practicing your affirmation, you have already set the wheels in motion for success. But you don’t have to wait for the results to appear; you can do something today to speed things up. Take whatever step you can, no matter how small, to bring you closer to your goal. As Michael Landon said, “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” Will we realize, as Michael Landon did, that our progress is blocked, not by what we want to do and can’t, but by what we ought to do and don’t? Those who choose action, choose life, for life expresses itself through action.
4. Keep a My Affirmation/Afformation Success Journal in which you record your successes. Your journal will keep you focused and your successes will inspire you to move on to bigger and better things.
AFFIRMATIONS Your Passport to Happiness by Dr. Anne Marie Evers
What to Say When you Talk To Yourself by Shad Helms
DECLARE YOUR LIFE! Change Your Thinking With Rhyming Affirmations. Find Happiness, Abundance, Success & More!By Tanya Hahn and Jason Hundley
The Great Little Book of Afformations by Noah St. John and Denise Berard
THE BOOK OF AFFORMATIONS: Discovering the Missing Piece to Abundant Health, Wealth, Love, and Happinessby Noah St. John and John Assaraf (Foreword)
THE SECRET CODE OF SUCCESS: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happinessby Noah St. John
Law of Attraction Afformations Better than Affirmations, Noah St John
Chuck Gallozzi lived, studied, and worked in Japan for 15 years, immersing himself in the wisdom of the Far East and graduating with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Asian Studies. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner, speaker, seminar leader, and coach. Corporations, church groups, teachers, counselors, and caregivers use his more than 400 articles as a resource to help others. Among his diverse accomplishments, he is also the Grand Prix Winner of a Ricoh International Photo Competition, the Canadian National Champion of a Toastmasters International Humorous Speech Contest, and the Founder and Head of the Positive Thinkers Group that has been meeting at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto since 1999. His articles are published in books, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. He was interviewed on CBC’s “Steven and Chris Show,” appearing nationally on Canadian TV. Chuck can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. View his photography at https://500px.com/chuckgallozzi. This article cannot be re-published without permission.