The power of affirmations

Affirmations are simply statements of your beliefs, and using positive affirmations can be a very effective way to change things for the better. It’s a common misconception that affirmations don’t work. Many people regard it as positive thinking nonsense. The fact is, we all use them, every day. We just don’t notice we’re doing it!

Take, for example, when there’s an exam looming ever closer and you mutter to yourself (or even just think) “I’m hopeless at exams … I probably won’t pass … I won’t remember a thing … “. All these things, and many more like them, are common thoughts when approaching an exam. And every one of them is an affirmation. You are affirming that you are hopeless at exams (not very good for your confidence) … you’re affirming that you probably won’t pass (let’s hope you’re wrong) … and you’re affirming that you won’t remember a thing (really not a good idea to even think this, or any of them for that matter).

You’re making these affirmations, these statements of your beliefs, and, as always, you are listening intently (your subconscious, that is). It is the job of your subconscious to put into action any beliefs you have about yourself. Since these particular ones are all bad beliefs, no good can come of them. Your subconscious can’t decide which are good beliefs and which are bad. It can only do its best to put these ‘programs’ into operation. Separating the good from the bad, or even recognising which is which, is not part of its job. That’s why we very often don’t do well in exams, have poor memories, and all the rest.

But hold on, don’t blame your subconscious, it’s just doing its job! Your subconscious is very, very powerful, and it has a very important job to do. It’s just that identifying which ideas are positive and which are negative isn’t part of it.

Cancelling the negativity

The first thing we need to do is to become aware of all the negative thoughts we have. And they are absolutely legion! For most people (i.e. those who’ve never really thought about it), negative thoughts are the norm, specially these days, when there’s so much negativity to tap into, on television, in films, in music, etc. We routinely think bad things about ourselves. We expect to fail. We bemoan our lousy memory. We practically look forward to failing at almost everything. It’s what we’re used to. It’s what we’ve come to expect.

If you can catch yourself thinking bad thoughts (i.e. negative thoughts), then you’re in with a chance of changing them. Immediately change the negative to a positive. Change “I’ll never pass this exam”, into “You know what? I think I probably will pass this exam”. Change “I won’t remember a thing” to “I’ll remember everything I need to, ‘cos my memory’s pretty amazing and it’s improving all the time”. Change “I’m not looking forward to this exam” to “Actually, I am looking forward to this exam … I can’t wait! … It’s going to go exactly to plan!”

An effective affirmation can feel strange at first

If you’ve never tried this approach before, be prepared – it’ll feel very strange. We’ve become so accustomed to negative thinking that trying to change it to positive thinking feels somehow wrong. We can’t quite believe what we’re saying (or thinking). Never mind, just persist. The more you introduce positive thoughts and statements into your thinking, the more you’ll start to believe in yourself. And the more you’ll actually believe what you’re saying.

Take another situation: imagine wanting to strike up a conversation with a good-looking girl (or guy), and repeatedly telling yourself “This’ll never work … she/he will never even look at someone like me … I’d be punching way above my weight”. Do you think you’re going to have much success in this fledgling relationship? It will probably never even get off the ground with thoughts like that going round in your head!

You clearly see yourself as unattractive, unlovable, uncharismatic, and you expect other people to see you in the same light. And guess what … they probably will! It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your conscious mind is just giving voice to your innermost fears and feelings about yourself, and your subconscious is listening in! Affirmations are just one way to take advantage of this situation and start the process of improving your self-image.

The power of positive affirmations … and negative ones

Affirmations are just a more regulated or formalised way of thinking positively. Repeating positive affirmations several times a day will have a positive effect. It can’t not have an effect. Your thoughts are data that’s constantly being fed into the massive bio-computer that is your brain. If you feed yourself negative thoughts and expectations all the time, you can only expect negative results. Henry Ford was right on the money when he said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t … you’re right!”

Monologue … or dialogue?

We usually think of our internal thoughts as a sort of continuous monologue. Actually, it’s more of a dialogue. There’s you (the conscious you, the one that’s thinking the thoughts, and reading this page right now), and then there’s your subconscious (that part of your mind that is concerned with carrying out your desires). It’s the job of your subconscious to listen in on your thoughts and obey your wishes, or commands. It does other things too, of course. It listens to what others say about you, for example, and it pays attention when you remember your successes … and your failures. It takes all this feedback, and more, and it weaves it into programs designed to give you precisely what you want, as far as it is able.

It’s important, though, to realise that it cannot differentiate between what’s true (or ‘real’) and what’s false. That’s outside of its remit. It’s a very simple and literal part of your mind. It takes exactly what it’s given, and runs with it. If you repeatedly tell yourself that you have a bad memory, your subconscious will do all it can to make it so. If you harp on about being unlucky, you will find that you are indeed unlucky … remember, your subconscious will be there in the background, making it happen exactly as specified (it’s only trying to fulfil your desires, after all).

And you’ll notice (again!) that the only luck you seem to be having is bad luck, and you’ll mention that to yourself (many times!), which of course will help perpetuate the situation. If you see yourself as someone who’s forever short of money and unable to make any, that is indeed the state of affairs that your subconscious mind will do all in its power to bring about.

The power of positive thinking

Your thoughts are powerful, monstrously powerful. You can achieve great things with the power of positive thinking and the power of affirmations. And you can fail miserably, time and again, just by constantly telling yourself you haven’t got a hope in hell. Tell yourself often enough that you’ll fail, and you can bet the house on it. Keep telling yourself that you can’t make any money, no matter what, and you’ll stay penniless, even when surrounded by opportunities. Continually see yourself as lonely and friendless and you might as well retire to a hermitage and have done with it.

The good news though is that there is a reverse side to this coin. Take all your negative thoughts and instantly change them, as soon as you become aware of them, and your subconscious mind will start to sit up and take notice. As alert as it has been for all the ruinous thoughts you’ve been feeding it for years, it’ll now be ravenous for the inspiring, hopeful, expectant and creative thoughts that you now start to push its way.

Remember, it’s a machine, in effect, nothing more, albeit an incredibly powerful one. It just does its job, unthinkingly. If you keep feeding it garbage, it will spew out garbage. Change its diet to something healthier and more substantial and it will be completely supportive of your new ideas.

You can help to bring about great changes in your life by using affirmations, whether they be motivational affirmations, diet affirmations, affirmations for abundance and prosperity,  or whatever. Even an affirmation to become a non-smoker, when you’ve tried everything else, can be surprisingly effective.

Be on the alert! Use affirmations that work

Make it a habit to stay alert for negative thoughts. Every time you find one, squash it mercilessly like an annoying little bug. But don’t leave it at that. Replace it immediately with a positive alternative. If you find yourself thinking “I’m gonna be late … I never manage to get anywhere on time”, change it instantly to “I’ll make it in good time … I’m much more punctual these days”. If you find yourself miserably thinking, “I suppose there’ll be no parking spaces when I get there … I can never find a space!”, change that to “I’ll probably find a parking space easily, I usually do!” If you hear yourself thinking “I can’t afford that … I’ve never got any money”, change it to something like “Mm … maybe I could afford that … I always manage to, one way or another”.

These aren’t just empty, comforting thoughts. They are statements of your beliefs about yourself, and your place in the world. They are affirmations. The power of affirmations is in repetition. And your subconscious mind is listening intently to every word, and setting the wheels in motion to bring about the results you desire … or appear to desire.

So be careful what you wish for … and what you affirm.


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