So you are curious about affirmations, huh?
We use affirmations to create a mental state that’s conducive to generating the results we would like to experience, but affirmations can be far more effective than just “motivation” or “feel good techniques” or “blahblah yeah yeah this is what I want.” I’m sure you’ve seen the images of someone staring at themselves in a mirror saying “I like myself.” That doesn’t hold a candle to what affirmations can really do for you.
Affirmations, otherwise known as declarations, can be a powerful starting point for:
– you to have more of the fulfillment you want
– your loved ones to experience more of the thriving they want
– your colleagues to enjoy more rewarding, more productive careers
– your community to experience more of the environment they want
– our world to experience more of the kind of world we want.
Affirmations that are the most successful aren’t just “affirmations”. What do I mean by that? I mean, affirmations that are the most powerful are ones that integrate not just the mind and your thoughts, but ones that integrate all six aspects of who you are (mind, body, spirit, heart, gut and action). You can see more about what I mean in my blog post, “When Affirmations Aren’t Enough“.
Meanwhile, if you’re new to affirmations, it helps to know a bit about the “what” and the “how” of them.
What are the elements of a powerful affirmation? How do people use affirmations?
Welcome to Affirmation Basics.
Affirmation Basics – The Elements of an Affirmation
What is an affirmation? Let’s talk about the elements of constructing a declaration or affirmation that is most likely to work.
When you want to create an affirmation, you want to be sure you start out with these three basic tips:
1. Keep it in the Present
2. Declare what you do want, rather than what you don’t
3. Give yourself room to “fake it till you make it.”
What do these three basics mean?
Keep it in the Present
When working with clients who are making a declaration or an affirmation, I sometimes hear future-oriented statements like “I want to” statements (statements like “I want to make more money” or “I want to do work I love” or “I want to have a better relationship”). Sometimes I hear the “I will” statements (statements like “I will make more money next year” or “I will be living in a wonderful house” or “Our family will be kinder to each other.”)
Although these future-oriented statements are a step toward what you want, by practicing a repetition that what is in the future, you inadvertently keep your goal always in the future.
To strengthen the power of your affirmation or declaration, keep it in the present.
For example you can keep your affirmations in the present when you replace, “I want to” or “I will … ” with a verb in the present tense: “I am / I have / We enjoy / We do …”
We relish the love in our relationship.
I love living in my spacious, clean, comfortable home.
Our family shares loving time together.
Everyone in the office raves about how fun it is to work here.
I make more money now than ever before.
Our community eats more and more healthily every week.
Declare what you DO Want
Next, instead of affirming / declaring what you don’t want, be sure to affirm / declare what you do want.
Ex: replace “I no longer date obnoxious men,” with, “I date chivalrous, generous men who adore me.”
Ex: replace “My work isn’t boring anymore,” with “I do what I love for work.”
By focusing on what you do want, you improve your ability to ask for it and to make decisions that are more likely to generate what you do want.
Give Yourself Room to “Fake it Till You Make It.”
Often when a new client begins doing affirmations, I’ll hear comments like, “But that’s not real, I’m just lying to myself.” It’s true that in the beginning you’ll feel the gap between what you want and what you currently experience. We call this training, not lying.
Remember that the goal of affirmations is to give yourself a conscious mantra, a cue, a story, which will impact your subconscious and help you get where you want to be.
How is this different than lying to yourself?
When we lie, we typically are doing it in secret (we don’t tell the other person we’re lying) and we often do it for some sort of non-benevolent purpose (to get away with something, or to hide something, or to avoid difficulty rather than facing the music).
When we “Fake it till you make it”, we’re deliberately choosing a habit that supports training the subconscious. This deliberate act isn’t lying so long as it’s done in a transparent way (you know you’re doing it, so both the trainer and trainee are aware of what’s going on), and the intent is purely benevolent (your intent is for life increase).
When and how do we use affirmations?
Read on to my next blog post!