Affirmations can be a powerful tool in facilitating change and growth in our lives. But many people that try using affirmations later give up because they don’t feel they are helping. Perhaps taking a look at affirmations in a new way, along with some powerful tips to rejuvenate your affirmation process might be helpful.
Affirmations are sometimes considered as “new age” psychobabble and in some circles the use of affirmations is criticized and even mocked. It may surprise many of the naysayers to learn that the use of affirmations has been around for centuries and their use is prevalent in most world cultures. Some examples of similar perennial techniques to affirmation use is; mantras, chanting, and many forms of rote and/or repetitive prayer. In all forms of repetitive phrases or words, whether you call it affirmation or prayer, the intention is to evoke a specific feeling and to help influence our thinking and the outcomes of our lives.
There is new interesting and compelling data emerging about the effectiveness of affirmations, specifically related to how affirmations can be used to affect the neural networks in the brain to change existing non-serving beliefs and/or to create new ones. You have probably experienced the phenomena of a “trained brain” in a negative way by falling prey to your conditioned inner critic. The inner critic is a rather unconscious but pervasive form of negative affirmation that habitually finds fault in many areas of our life (our looks, body image, success and failures, love life, etc.). Throughout our lives we begin to repeat certain words or phrases about ourselves or our life conditions and ultimately these provide our frame of reference for how we see ourselves and portray ourselves to others.
So, why do some people have phenomenal success using affirmations yet others can’t seem to realize any help from them? And, why do we seem to so easily succumb to negative affirmations, yet feel so awkward and uncomfortable in using our positive affirmations? The answer boils down to our fundamental belief systems. In a world where lack, chaos, stress, dissension and commercialism are promoted, it’s tough to overcome those messages to initiate powerful positive changes. Our entire culture and society is based on the premise that there is always something missing from our lives. Just watch television for a bit to see the persistent affirmations being recited to you: “You need a better this”, “You are missing out if you don’t have this”, “You’re sick” (or you will be soon). Is it any wonder that if we can’t live up to the fabricated standards that our culture has chosen to put on a pedestal, (movie stars, multi-million dollar athletes, mega millionaires), that we begin to feel a sense of inadequacy or unworthiness.
But there are many people that ARE making changes, despite the pervasiveness of the bigger lack messages out there today. They are making these changes because there is still an innate higher wisdom in each one us and we are all provided with many opportunities in our life to listen to this “still small voice.” Once the door of new possibilities and potential opens to us, many people begin to feel renewed by the hope of breaking away from the “small” mindset of our conditioning. They begin to wonder and contemplate – “Maybe I’m not (broken, stupid, sinful, ugly, unlovable)”.
There are many tools we can utilize in our journey to a brighter and more fulfilling future. Besides affirmations, you cannot discount the effectiveness of spending time in nature, meditation, prayer, journaling, exercise, artistic expression and appreciation, plus many more. However, a solid affirmation process can help you through a multitude of changes and/or growth processes, from transcending limited beliefs all the way to helping you manifest amazing dreams and goals in your life.
Below are 5 tips to use affirmations in an effective and purposeful way. Affirmations are more than mere “positive thinking”, although certainly persistent positive thoughts are always more helpful than negative, but to be powerful, you must have some oomph behind your affirmation. The following tips should help in providing that extra juice to a powerfully effective affirmation tool.
5 Tips to Super Charge you Affirmations
- The biggest neutralizer to the successful use of affirmation is the un-believability of your affirmation to your core belief system. In order to be very effective, your affirmation must have a sense of “truth” to it for you. Affirming that you are wealthy, when clearly you are feeling acutely lacking, is only going to disappoint you and quite frankly might throw you into quite a depressed state when nothing ever comes from your affirmation process. Begin by choosing an affirmation that you can get your whole being behind, like “I am choosing a wealth mindset more and more every day.” Affirmations are supposed to stretch you to train your brain to your new chosen beliefs, but if they are too far apart from a long standing limitation that you are struggling with, you may want to focus on healing your limitation first.
Put some action behind your affirmations. If you say, “I see abundance in every part of my life”, then actually SEE abundance in every part of your life. Did you eat? – celebrate and recognize this abundance, even if the only thing you had to eat was a PB&J. Did you wake up to a new day? – recognize the abundance of the glorious new 24 hour period. Did your partner smile at you? – recognize this abundance of love and joy. Don’t just say your affirmation, begin to live within it. Feel it. Even if you start from nothing, once you affirm a higher state of being, begin to live in that higher state of being. These small gestures of living in the state of being you are affirming is living “as if” it is already true, because honestly no matter what you wish to see realized in your life, there is always some of that already present in your life already. Affirm it, recognize it as already present, and live it. Don’t be afraid that by appreciating the lessor of what you really wish to see ultimately realized will be “settling”. It’s not – its opening the door to let more of “that” in by seeing it already present in your life.
- Affirmations will never be effective if they are at someone else’s expense. If someone has to lose in order for you to gain, you need to re-think what you are really wanting and why. Similarly, although your affirmations should be as specific as possible, they should not be so specific that they limit the enormous potential available to fulfill them. For instance, if your affirmation is about gaining a more serious or intimate relationship in your life, do not define a specific person; simply allow the affirmation to be fulfilled from the endless potential available to you. Being so specific not only limits you, but you may be arbitrarily taking something away from someone else without even knowing it. Affirmations that will ultimately benefit many people, like members of your family, your community, or your work friends are most powerful.
- Make your affirmation short and powerfully relational to you. The shorter the affirmation statement the better. One I love and use often, especially when I am confronted with a difficult situation is, “I choose to respond with love”. Affirmations don’t always have to start with “I”. You can select powerful mantra type statements and plaster them all around your house and car, like “Breathe in peace, breathe out stress.” Your affirmation needs to be personally suitable to you, your life situations, and they should match the way you normally self-speak to yourself.
- Put a specific process in place for reciting and remembering to use your affirmations. I suggest at least two or three specifically defined times during the day you read over and recite each affirmation a couple of times. Implement the use of triggers in your life to bring your affirmation to mind many times during your day. Triggers are tools that activate you to use your affirmation. I use daily habits as triggers. For instance, every time I turn on a light switch, I make an affirmation about being full of light and energy. When I wash my hands I allow the water to run over my cupped hands and affirm the overflowing abundance of my resources. Don’t forget using sticky notes and place them everywhere, or make affirmation notations in your journal or your planner. Set up calendar reminders on your email calendar and your phone. Be creative with your triggers to help remind you to repeat, repeat, and repeat those powerful affirmations.