Some people get a kick (and results) out of positive affirmations. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s just a nice, fluffy bunch of words that achieve nothing.
The psychology behind affirmations is solid. When an affirmation (or any positive self-talk) is repeated over and over again the brain begins to accept it as truth (another reason we need to make sure we’re putting good things into our minds). When the affirmation is accepted as truth the subconscious starts to seek out opportunities to act on and confirm that truth. It’s a conscious form of positive self-talk - putting good stuff in so you feel good and take positive action in your life. BUT there's a but... Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Why won't any old affirmation work?
The critical factor is that the affirmation that you choose has to have an element of truth in it. The truth in it is relative to you, so affirmations can’t be a cookie cutter thing – don’t go trying to steal other peoples affirmations unless they actually mean something to you.
An affirmation you don’t believe is yucky old inauthentic, shallow and forced positivity. And no-one likes a phony. Especially not your brain.
It’ll see through it in two seconds. If you repeat something over and over that you don’t actually believe… it’s likely that you’re going to retaliate consciously or subconsciously) and build up a resilience to it sinking in, potentially enhancing negativity and scepticism in that area.
Here's an example...
Personally, I’m not driven by finance but it can be a common topic for affirmations so I’ll use the topic of finance as an example of how an affirmation can be a hinderance or a help.
If I tell myself something like ‘I have an unlimited amount of money’ or ‘I am at one with a zillion dollars’ over and over again I’m pretty sure my brain will roll its eyes at me and be like… ‘F*#K off Steph. No you don’t, and who’s at one with money anyway?? That makes no sense.’ And my brain, for me anyway, would be right - and that would be the end of that. I’d probably wind up liking the topic of money less than when I started.
But, if I reframe the affirmation, still on the topic of finance, into something that resonates with me and my personal values it shifts my whole openness to it. For example I could say ‘I have the ability to attract the finances I need to live a generous life’. Personally, that sits a lot better with me. It feeds the self-confidence I already have in my abilities and it resonates with my personal values regarding generosity to others. This mantra would make my brain go ‘Yeah, you do have the abilities. Be confident in yourself. The money will come and as it does you’ll be able to bless others. Good one.’
The right affirmation is (and should be) different from person to person.
One was cookie cutter straight from Pinterest (obviously resonating with someone in the world or it wouldn't exist) and the other was tailored to my values and beliefs. One seems inauthentic and makes me grimace, the other is an authentic positivity around the subject. We all have different values and beliefs that drive us so it's rare to find someone who resonates as deeply with an affirmation as you might.
My point here is that...
The affirmation you begin with needs to have a whiff of truth to it for you so your brain accepts it. Otherwise those empty words you keep reading will repel straight off you like a waterproof jacket in a sun shower.
find and use the right affirmation for you
Pinterest is a great place to start. Search for positive affirmations or mantras in the are of life you want to create positive change. Have a read through - there will be plenty to choose from. Start to collect those that resonate with you. You'll know it's a good one when it feels right (to be fair - this isn't 'just a feeling', it's actually a deeper connection to your innate personal values). If it resonates with you as you read it then that's a good sign your brain will accept the affirmation as true and take it on board for greater influence. Settle on one to get you started.
Prime positioning. Put the affirmation somewhere that you'll read it often enough o be impactful on your thought life, but not so often that it becomes a part of the furniture and you don't notice it anymore. . Over time you'll absorb the affirmation as being deeply true for you. When this happens your subconscious will start searching for ways to live it out and actualise it without you realising it.
Be intentional and present.As you read your affirmation, let it sink in. Read your affirmation at the start of the day, when you feel negative self-talk creep in, or when you want to amp yourself up into a positive state - whatever is relevant timing for a dose of your affirmation
Your self-talk, what you put into your mind, is so powerful. It becomes the catalyst for your behaviour and impacts your self-confidence and self--esteem. So, I encourage you to put as much good stuff in as you can! If you want to learn more about who to increase your self-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem and create more positivity in your life then our Self-Awareness Workshop being held on November 3rd, 2018 here in Launceston sounds just right of you. Read more about this and our other workshops here.
Steph Edmunds is SESC's incredibly passionate, experienced Certified Professional Life Coach based in Launceston, Tasmania - coaching across Australia and the world. You can contact Steph directly to make coaching inquiries or follow SESC on Facebook for regular doses of personal success insights and motivation!on to be added to your life.