The Power of Positive Affirmations


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by Jayaram V

Source: This essay was originally published in the book “Think Success, Essays on Self-help” by Jayaram V under the title, “The Power of Positive Affirmations," and reproduced with publisher's permission.

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An affirmation is a positive thought, or statement that you repeat to yourself frequently and embed in your inner consciousness for inspiration and motivation to overcome negativity and sustain your interest and enthusiasm to perform actions. When you affirm a statement repeatedly, it becomes a part of your consciousness and guides your behavior. You can use affirmations to overcome undesirable behavior and negative and habitual thought patterns, which prevent you from effectively using your full potentials.

They are especially useful to overcome fear, self-doubt, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, initiative, and anxiety. You can also use them to reinforce positive thoughts such as compassion, love, courage, confidence, amiability, and positive mental attitude. Affirmations are found useful in helping patients to recover from psychosomatic disorders and certain illnesses. They are also called auto-suggestions because they work like subtle commands with which you can retune your mind.

Why affirmations?

Your mind is a vast storehouse of accumulated knowledge and learned responses. It is programmed to act in certain mechanical and predictable ways. It relies upon certain learned responses and perceptual filters to make sense of the world. Since it has to cope with large volume of information from the outside world and much of it is either routine or irrelevant, it learns to filter the information according to its importance in your survival. In this your desires, beliefs, thinking, and attitude play an important role. For example, if you are a painter you may see the world in terms of colors, shades, and perspectives. If you are a writer, or a reporter you may look for a story angle.

Your mind is thus shaped by your interests, desires, past actions and experiences. If you have visited the same place several times, you may pay much attention to it as you assume that not much has changed. However, a new visitor to the same place may find there many attractions. Since your mind is conditioned by several experiences and cultural influences, it is not easy to control its movements or break its conventional habits. Using affirmations, you can instruct your mind and body to act in desirable ways and overcome the barriers that stand between you and your ideal personality. By sending subtle auto-commands into your mind you can empower yourself in the following ways.

  • Powerfully change your thinking, beliefs and behavior.
  • Heal your mind and recover from pain and suffering.
  • Dispute your negative self-talk to improve your self-esteem and morale.
  • Empower yourself to deal with the problems and challenges with increased confidence, enthusiasm and determination.
  • Control your thoughts, emotions and irrational beliefs.
  • Channel your energies in the desired direction.
  • Following are a few important positive changes you can bring using positive affirmations.
  • Lose weight in a natural and healthy way through gradual lifestyle changes.
  • Excel in sports or academic achievement.
  • Start and complete a project such as writing a book, which you thought was difficult.
  • Overcome certain fears and anxieties, and feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem.
  • Cure certain types of sickness and weakness.
  • Improve performance and efficiency.
  • Strengthen your will power and determination.
  • Learn a new skill or subject.
  • Improve your memory, listening, and perception
  • Change your attitude, behavior, emotional responses.
  • Change your habits and daily routine.
  • Improve your social intelligence and interaction.
  • Heal your past relationships and traumas.

Positive affirmations may not get you everything you wanted in your life, but they can help you to build on your thoughts and achieve self-mastery. They can change your thinking and beliefs, and align you to your goals and aspirations. With their help, you can overcome your negativity, fears and frustration and feel responsible for your actions and thoughts. You can face the challenges of your life more confidently, with the conviction that your destiny is in your hands. Using affirmations, you can practically do anything that's humanly possible and within your capacity. You can change the way you think, act, and relate to yourself and others. You can become the person you want to be. However, to make it happen, you should know how to make the affirmations work for you. The following suggestions are helpful in this regard.

  1. Know what you want: If you clearly know what you want or expect, you can frame your affirmations correctly to address the problems and goals that are specific to you.
  2. Use positive words and phrases only: Positive affirmations keep your expectations positive. You should avoid negative expressions since your subconscious mind may become confused. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t want to be nervous” you may say, “I am feeling confident about this.”
  3. Keep your affirmations simple and clear: Vague and ambiguous words may create confusion by sending wrong signals to your mind. Therefore, use concrete and specific actionable words that directly appeal to your mind and senses.
  4. Write down your affirmations: Write down your list of affirmations on a piece of paper or in a notebook and refer to them frequently so that you can use the same wording each time you go through them.
  5. Remember your affirmations regularly: You should frequently remember them until they are firmly remembered. Revisit them every day whenever you find time to make them a part of your active memory.
  6. Update your affirmations: As you make progress, your affirmations may require revision to reflect the changes that happen during the transformation. Therefore, update your list of affirmations according to your progress.
  7. Counter your negative self-talk: Self-talk is the best part of your mind. Affirmations are meant to artificially improve the quality of your self-talk so that it will be supportive and relevant to your goals. However, negative self-talk can ruin your efforts. Hence, use positive affirmations to counter your inner critic.
  8. Use affirmations to remember your goals: Create them in such a manner that they remind you of your goals or the actions you need to perform to reach them.
  9. Change your habits: Use your affirmations to change your negative, emotional and habitual responses as well as you negative and self-destructive habits.
  10. Use emotions: Use powerful, and positive emotions along with your affirmations. Studies show that when affirmations are combined with emotions they yield better results.
  11. Own your affirmations: Make your affirmations personal by crafting them in first person so that you can relate to them directly and take responsibility for the changes they bring. For example, "I am happy I am making progress."
  12. Use the present tense: Use the present tense as if your affirmations are already working for you and yielding positive results. Express gratitude for the transformation that is happening.
  13. Invoke the power of God: If you believe in God, bring Him into your affirmations and energize them. Combine the power of prayer with your affirmations. Affirm your faith in God and ask Him to manifest your goals, expressing gratitude for the help you are already receiving.
  14. Use visualization: Add imagination to your affirmations and pour life into them to make them effective. Visualize how they are manifesting the change you want to see in your life or in you.

Build your life with positive affirmations

A pointed well-crafted affirmation is more powerful than a missile because it creates rather than destroys. You have many options to achieve success and happiness in your life. You can take charge of your life and realize your goals in various ways. You may choose any method or path that suits you according to your knowledge, abilities and circumstances, but if you combine your methods with positive affirmations, you will vastly improve your chances of success. When positive affirmations are reinforced by strong emotions, faith, and corresponding effort, they will bring you rich rewards. They enhance your self-esteem, reduce your negativity, and pave the way for success and happiness. As you change your thinking and behavior, you become a new person and develop a new perspective about yourself and the world. You become the source of your success and happiness and empower yourself with positive and transformative self-talk. As you pour energy into your thoughts through affirmations, they manifest your desires and goals and lead you towards success and happiness.

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