The lives of thousands of people have been changed because of affirmations (these are positive statements said with confidence about something thought to be true.) But not everyone benefits from affirmations. How does this tool lead to great success for some while others fail to get any results?
An affirmation becomes effective through its ability to make your mind believe the perceived notion. This is because of the inability of the mind to differentiate between reality and fantasy. When one laughs or cries while watching a movie, their mind empathizes with the screen characters even though it’s just a movie. There are two types of affirmations- positive and negative. I know most of us can recall our childhood days when we were told by our teachers or parents that we couldn’t do this or that. Such discouraging statements are likely to last in our minds, and in many cases can have a negative impact on our lives today.
A good example is a fear of failing, according to self-psychology expert Heinz Kohut, there is a link between the fear of failure and a child’s fear of being physically or emotionally abandoned. When we are gripped by the fear of failure, we tend to weigh the magnitude of the risk we are facing and imagine an unpleasant outcome – this is equal to what would happen to us emotionally if we are abandoned by those we depend on. This gives us a very dreadful picture thus making us believe that change is not necessary. We fail to take advantage of success opportunities and when failure strikes, we unknowingly re-confirm the negative affirmation that “I wasn’t born to succeed,” or “success belongs to others.”
If our inner mind is taken hostage by a negative belief, then it has the power to cripple a positive affirmation, irrespective of whether we are aware of it or not. This is the reason why affirmations don’t work for many people. Their minds are so distressed that positive statements mean nothing to them. So what can we do to strengthen an affirmation, so that it wins over our negative thoughts?
Prepare a list of what you think are your negative qualities. This should include bad things that people have said about you and those that you are still holding onto. It could be something said to you when you were a child by your parents, age mates or siblings. Maybe your employer made a negative comment about you during the end of year review. This should also be included. Don’t bother judging the accuracy of what they said, remember as human beings we are prone to errors. You just need to note them and then conclude with something positive about yourself. This will be a good starting point as you change your thinking. As you continue writing what you believe in, ask yourself if you are stuck with it in your body? Do you feel uneasy in your stomach or in your heart? Does such a negative concept benefit your life in any way? If the answer is no, what else would benefit your life?
Based on how you judge yourself, write an affirmation. Use powerful words to describe yourself. Don’t just say “I am worthy,” say something like “I am remarkable and wonderful.” Once you finish writing your affirmation, seek the opinion of a close friend. They could add something to make it better.
Read the affirmations in the morning, afternoon and evening. A good time to do it is when looking yourself in the mirror when shaving or working on your eyebrows. Look at yourself in the mirror and declare what you are. You could also opt to write the affirmations on a notebook several times. Check if there is a change in your writing style after doing this several times. This could give you an idea of how your mind is responding to the new concept. I refer to this as the use of the mindfulness journal to propel the theme of the positive affirmation.
Make the affirmation part of you by repeating the statement as you put your hand on the body part that felt unease when you were writing the negative belief in the first step. Moreover, release your breath into the affirmation as you write and say it. As your perception changes, you now want to move from the affirmation concept to the true reality of what you are looking for.
Seek help from a friend or trainer to repeat the statement to you. As they speak to you, relate what they are saying to an encouraging message being spoken by a father or a mother. If you are uncomfortable with a friend or a trainer, stand before a mirror and speak the message as you look at your reflection in the mirror.
Affirmations can come in handy to help you change your way of thinking and your mood, and bring about the positive change you want in your life. But they can only be effective if the negative beliefs that work against them are first identified. If the above steps don’t work for you, it is advisable to seek help from a professional therapist, who can help. This could be through mindfulness or meditation, practices that help you discover thought patterns that stop your positive thinking. It enables you to set aside what is negative. Mindfulness is more about accepting what is in your mind, then trying to move towards the possible. Give it a try and see how your life changes for the better.