How to Harness the Power of Affirmations in Your Life
A quick technique to help you get started
My first introduction to affirmations came when I was 16 years old. I read the OG self-help book Think and Grow Rich. Ever since then the concept of affirmations has intrigued me.
I mean think about it. The promise of affirmations seems too good to be true: Constantly affirm that which you want to be in the hope that your subconscious mind picks it up and manifest it.
To an ambitious high school kid like me, it was like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.
Ever since then I’ve used affirmations to my advantage. Whether it was about getting better grades, making more money, learning a new skill, losing weight, or giving up a bad habit. The power of affirmations never left my side.
Emile Coue, the French psychologist, and pharmacist, who lived in the early 20th century, brought this topic to the public’s attention.
Coue noticed that he got more positive results when he told his patients that the potions he gave them were effective. This made him realize that thoughts and beliefs can affect the perception of reality. He called this process autosuggestions.
In the most basic sense of the word, to “affirm” is to state that something is true. An affirmation, thus, is nothing but a statement of truth that we would like to absorb into our lives. It’s a statement that we wish was true and to do that we act as if it’s true! (The way I say it, it seems a bunch of ‘woo-woo’ but stick with me here).
Louise Hay writes, “An affirmation opens the door. It’s a beginning point on the path to change. In essence, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.”
We’re Already Affirming, Albeit Unconsciously
All of us are already using affirmations, in a sense, without knowing.
Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. The internal dialogue we have with ourselves is just a stream of affirmations. These affirmations create your experience and reality.
Even a small complaint is an affirmation of something you think you don’t want in life. But every time you get angry, you’re affirming anger. Every time you hate someone, you bring more hate into your life.
This is normal because we never learn about the harmful effects our thoughts have on us. People are only beginning to learn how thoughts create experiences.
And so our aim with the ‘practice’ of affirmations is simple — after understanding the role of our thoughts in life, we decide we want to take responsibility.
You Have the Power to Change Yourself
One of the biggest reasons for failure is our disbelief in our ability to change ourselves. In other words, it’s a problem of faith.
According to Napolean Hill, faith just means convincing yourself that you can achieve your goal. That’s the first step. And the beauty of affirmations is that this faith can be improved with practice.
Faith is the difference between the have and the have-nots in any field. One man says “I can’t afford it” and another man says “How can I afford it?” It’s that simple.
Once you believe that you can achieve something, your mind will come up with ways to achieve that. But by losing faith, you block the creative energy in vain.
This, in fact, is one of the ways to explain “The Secret.” By constantly thinking of something, you put your mind and subtle energies to work. These forces then help you to get what you want.
Affirmations are not wishful thinking. You don’t sit beneath a tree the whole day and think about being the CEO of a company.
A lot of people think that affirmations don’t work. But that’s an affirmation in itself. It’s not that affirmations don’t work, it’s just that we don’t know how to use them. Our habitual negative thoughts almost always end up winning. All we have to do is to reverse that.
Here’s a quick guide that will tell you all you need to know about affirmations, without the fluff.
The only thing you should remember while choosing affirmations is they should be positive and not negative.
This means they shouldn’t negate negativity but affirm positivity.
If you want to get rid of your anger, then don’t affirm “I will not be angry anymore.” Doing that will still keep the mind focused on anger! Instead, say “I love others as extensions of my own self” or simply “I am calm and peaceful at all times.”
Also, notice how I worded it as “I am **calm…” and not “I will be** calm…” The affirmations are kept in the present tense to affirm that you’ve already achieved the goal.
Again, doing this is not wishful thinking. You are kind, compassionate, and loving. It’s just that bad habits like anger prevent you from seeing it. Thus, affirming that you are peaceful is not a false statement — it’s a higher truth you aspire to reach.
Since affirmations can be tricky, you can take help from someone with experience or practice affirmations written by people with higher consciousness than you.
For now, I use these two books for my affirmations.
Once you’ve chosen your affirmation, here’s how you practice them.
Calm your mind.
Go to a quiet, tranquil place where you won’t be disturbed.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. You can also do few breathing exercises.
Then watch the breath for some time. Feel it entering and exiting from your nostrils. Bring back your attention to the sensation if you get distracted. Watching the breath is the oldest technique to calm the mind. The effect of your affirmations directly depends on the power of your concentration.
Repeat your affirmations.
Start by repeating your affirmations in a loud voice three times. This is done to get hold of the mind and focus all attention on the affirmation itself.
Then repeat in a normal voice three times.
Repeat three more times in a whisper to absorb the affirmation into your subconscious mind.
Finally, repeat three more times only mentally — to take it into the superconscious mind
As you repeat the affirmation, make sure that your attention and concentration deepen with every repetition
If you’re short on time, you can repeat them once each time instead of doing it three times. However, the more you do the better it is.
In case you already have a meditation practice, it’s best to do your affirmations at the end of it. Other good times to do them are when your subconscious mind is receptive, i.e. before going to bed or just after waking up.
Merely reading affirmations is not enough. You need to feel in your heart that you’re affirming the truth.
As soon as we do an affirmation, our mind may trick us by saying “Who are you kidding? You can never do that!” We have to fight that reaction with the power of our concentration.
In his book *How to Be a Success, *Paramahansa Yogananda wrote:
In practicing affirmations, the spiritual aspirant must be unfailingly patient. Believe you are inherently healthy when you want good health; believe you are inherently prosperous when you want prosperity; believe you are inherently wise when you want wisdom — then health, prosperity, and wisdom will manifest themselves in you.”
To Sump Up
Here’s what you need to know:
We’re already affirming (often the bad things) without knowing. The practice of affirmations is just about changing the flow.
Faith is the key ingredient. You need to stop the monkey mind from destroying your hopes.
For best results, whatever affirmation you choose, make sure it’s positive and in the present tense.
Practice when your mind is calm — after meditation, before going to bed, after waking up.
But really, you can practice it anytime. Spend a few minutes calming your mind and you’ll lay good soil for the seed to grow.
There’s a lot more to affirmations. But you don’t need to know that right now. I’ve kept it short so you get started quickly.
Will you fulfill my expectations, dear reader?
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