Affirmations- the Basics
If any of us have heard of affirmations before, it was probably connected to the images of yoga and meditation, and perhaps therefore cast aside as something that doesn’t fit with our beliefs or lifestyle. I’ll admit, I was one such person. I have heard my sister, a yoga teacher, mention affirmations many times, but disregarded the idea as something that wouldn’t help me, the same way I have disregarded meditation – not because I think it’s a bad idea, but because it simply didn’t work for me. But affirmations can be as spiritual or lack thereof, as positive, as self-directed as you want or indeed need them to be. You can use them for self-esteem, confidence, calm, stress relief; use them for success, happiness and well-being. Areas in your life you want to improve or areas where you might seek help or guidance.
Julia Cameron’s, of the Artist’s Way, tells us that “An affirmation is a positive statement of (positive) belief, and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we will notice an enormous change.’ In Julia’s case, she recommends using affirmations to help with creative and artists blocks, to believe in yourself as an artist, but her sentiment carries. We could all accomplish so much, if we start being nicer to ourselves.
Benefits of Affirmations
Studies have shown that the use of affirmations, as well as helping boost self-esteem and confidence, can make a vital difference to our mental health. This, more than anything, more than spirituality or faith, is where I find affirmations useful. By increasing our positive thoughts and our belief in ourselves, we target negative thoughts and turn them around.
This deliberate use of positive thinking, whilst at first, may seem a little odd and really, how much change can repeating some words do, will start to show up in your life and in your thinking. You’ll trust your judgement more, think better of yourself and stop putting yourself down. Affirmations empower us to see our dreams manifest into reality, to see our hopes for ourselves come into being.
Affirmations should be personal, you don’t have to share them, you don’t have to tell anyone you use them, you don’t even have to say them out loud. Write them down, if you want. But remember to repeat them, over and over again until they stick and until you believes them. Affirmations are an entirely subjective experience; there is no wrong way to do them.
As Shakti Gawain states, ‘An affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something already is.’ You’re not making yourself some new way, not changing yourself to fit into your affirmations; your affirmations, as the names suggests, affirm something about you that is already true. You are already talented, generous, creative, loving. You do deserve that promotion, that bonus, that better, deeper relationship with your loved ones. You do put something beautiful into the world and you are extremely important.
And as you say your affirmations, listen to that voice that creeps up in the back of your mind, that tells you you’re wrong or calls you a liar. Remember what it says, those negative thoughts can become your next affirmation, turn them on their heads. Soon, that voice will run out of things to say, because you will run out of unpleasant things to say to yourself.
As though you were telling your best friends after a bad breakup or job less, you would tell them everything that is good about until they start believing it themselves. This is affirming. Tell yourself, you need to hear it.
‘I am deliberate and afraid of nothing’ – Audre Lord