What Are Affirmations?

There is so much talk these days about positivity, inspiration, motivation and affirmations, but many people are still not quite clear as to the difference between affirmations and motivational and inspirational quotes. (I’m not even discussing ‘motivational’ – I personally avoid ‘motivation’ like the plague, even ‘motivational’ quotes. They make me feel guilty that I have not achieved what I am ‘supposed’ to, and ‘supposed to’ falls in the same category as “should” – I ‘should’ lose weight, I ‘should’ be doing exercise, I ‘should’ be doing my filing or I ‘should’ be more friendly. All of which leads to more guilt, and as we know, guilt is self-deprecating and gets you nowhere. Inspiration comes forth from within. It’s what the light burning within you is about, as opposed to motivation, which is doing it because if you don’t do it, there will be negative repercussions!) Inspirational quotes are meant to inspire us, give us a kick-start into action and doing something, but are usually short-lived and last only for the duration of the task at hand. Affirmations, on the other hand, program the conscious and unconscious mind to focus on what we want and to release old, negative beliefs that hold us back from reaching our full potential.

What are Affirmations?
~ Affirmations help to affirm positives and counteract negatives
~ Affirmations program the conscious and unconscious mind to focus on what you want
~ Affirmations can help turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk
~ Affirmations can change negative habits into positive ones.

Every thought you think every word you say is an affirmation. All of our self-talk or inner dialogue is a stream of affirmations. We are continually affirming subconsciously with our words and thoughts and this flow of affirmations is creating our life experience in every moment. Our beliefs are just learned thought patterns that we have developed since childhood, many of these work well for us, but others may now be working against us, they are dysfunctional and may be sabotaging us from achieving what we believe we want. Every affirmation we think or say is a reflection of our inner truth or beliefs. It is important to realize that many of these “inner truths” may not actually be true for us now or may be based on invalid or inappropriate impressions we constructed as children, which if examined as an adult can be exposed as inappropriate.

Our subconscious uses the behaviour patterns we have learned to automatically respond and react to many everyday events in our life. This is essential to our survival, we need to be able to respond quickly to events around us which would be impossible if we had to re-examine every aspect of things every time something simple happens. Our learned responses and thought patterns enable us to automatically respond to circumstances quickly and easily. Problems arise however, if at an early stage some of the foundation beliefs on which many of the others are built were formed from a skewed perspective, maybe the strategy was appropriate for a perceived difficult circumstance, however, often such beliefs are totally inappropriate for succeeding in the real world as adults.

You can use “Positive Affirmations”, which are usually short positive statements targeted at a specific subconscious set of beliefs, to challenge  and undermine negative beliefs and to replace them with positive self-nurturing beliefs. It is a kind of “brainwashing” only you get to choose which negative beliefs to wash away. The way these statements are constructed is extremely important. Later I will show you how to construct you own affirmations. It is important to remember of course that everything we say and think is a positive affirmation, using positive affirmation statements forces us to keep focussed on our inner goals and reminds us to think consciously about our words and thoughts and to modify them to reflect our positive affirmation.

Do affirmations work?
YES! Affirmations really work. You will be hard pushed to find any self-help program anywhere that does not include affirmations, even the ones that appear to pooh-pooh affirmations include them under some slightly different guise. And the reason for this is, they work. The more determined you are to make your changes, the more you are prepared to accept change and let go of the past, the better they will work for you.

Why affirmations work
By choosing to think and say positive affirmations as true, the subconscious is forced into one of two reactions – avoidance or reappraisal. The bigger the issue the bigger the gap between the positive affirmation and the perceived inner truth and the more likely that one is going to experience resistance. This is where the subconscious finds it easier to stay with its perceived inner truth and avoid the challenge using any means at its disposal to avoid examining the issue. You will recognise this reaction by a strong negative feeling inside as you state the positive affirmations. Equally, if your experience a sense of joy and well being, your mind is instinctively responding to something it believes to be true. When you get this emotion, you know your affirmations are working!

Continually repeating affirmations with conviction and passion will chip away at even the strongest resistance. However, there are a number of additional techniques you can use that will super-charge your affirmations and magnify their effectiveness many fold. Once the resistance is broken, your subconscious is able to re-examine the core belief and patterns you have been working on. The effect can be startling and things can change very quickly as the dysfunctional beliefs get identified and replaced by your own new inner truth.

Depending on how deep into your consciousness these beliefs lay, every other learned pattern and belief that relied on the original belief as a premise, becomes unfounded. The subconscious has to re-examine them all, this can lead to a period of introspection.

Because affirmations actually re-program your thought patterns, they change the way you think and feel about things, and because you have replaced dysfunctional beliefs with your own new positive beliefs, positive change comes easily and naturally. This will start to reflect in your external life, you will start to experience seismic changes for the better in many aspects of your life.
How quickly do affirmations work?
From day one, there will be affirmations you love and enjoy saying. These affirmations are likely to be very effective for you and you are likely to start experiencing changes almost immediately. Others will feel very negative, almost like a big lie; this indicates resistance and these areas may take longer to impact. How quickly you can resolve an issue like this is like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends on the issue, how deeply the belief is held and how determined you are to bring about change in that area of your life, the latter being perhaps the most important of all. If you are truly ready and want to make changes, the quicker those changes will come for you. People have made cognitive changes in their beliefs almost instantaneously, once you are prepared to embrace and accept a change and you believe it to be right for you from your very heart, then that change will happen. So it is not really a question of time, more a question of how accepting of change you can be.

Will Affirmations help me?
Yes. No matter what aspect of life you’re dealing with or who you are, affirmations will not only make you feel better about yourself and your life. But, if used correctly, they can manifest real change in your life. Changing the way you think, re-programming your mind and removing the old negative beliefs that have been sabotaging you again and again throughout your life. They can enable you to achieve the life you’ve always wanted for yourself!
Why doesn’t everyone use Affirmations?
They do! It has been demonstrated that nearly 90% of our thoughts are negative, no wonder we find ourselves struggling! Each negative thought or word is a negative affirmation and these nasty little beasts can be even more powerful than positive affirmations because we often find them easier to accept. It is these negative thoughts that feed and validate our negative internal beliefs. Under this kind of negative bombardment, most people simply do not have the strength to break free of their negative thoughts and become hopelessly locked into their own (usually false) negative beliefs.

Positive affirmations are designed to challenge those negative beliefs and start to stem the flow of negative thoughts and words that seek to validate them. Affirmations are more than just repeating words. It is a whole process of becoming aware of your thoughts and words in everyday life, choosing to think and project happy positive thoughts. The more you can consciously inject the spirit of you affirmations into your daily thoughts and words, the quicker they will work for you.

If you’re attuned to sadness, chaos or tragedy, sure enough, those things will find you soon enough!
So by using affirmations on a regular basis, you are changing your inner tuning fork, resonating with a different tone or feeling. Focus on resonating with peace and with joy, with financial abundance and personal plenty. You can shift any situation you find yourself in if you simply take charge of the helm and get focused on affirming the reality you want.

Here is an example of a very simple releasing affirmation :

“I am ready and willing to release the past, now.”
Supercharging Affirmations
There are a few other techniques you can use that can super-charge the effectiveness of your affirmations.

Affirmation Mirror work
Perhaps the most powerful way of using affirmations is to state them whilst looking in the mirror. Some of the most important messages you have received have been from people looking you straight in the eye. By looking yourself in the eye as you state your affirmation you magnify the importance of the message to yourself.

Written Affirmations
A great way of keeping your affirmation at the fore-front of your mind is to write them down – leave notes or cards around so that you notice them throughout the day and keep one in your pocket. Another idea is to write your affirmation down many times (10-20), this helps imprint it on your mind.

Say Affirmations with Passion!
Say your affirmations with passion, the higher your emotional state as you say them, the more effective they are.
Extract from Vital Affirmations

Have an Affirmation Bath
Do you remember one of the games we used to play as kids/teenagers, sitting in a circle, and each person had to say what they didn’t like about the other person/s? (I only participated in one of these events as a young woman, with disastrous results! Many of us never spoke to one another again!) An Affirmation Bath is the opposite – it requires several people sitting around a person making positive statements about them.

An Affirmation bath is a truly amazing experience, the multiple voices, coming from multiple directions, often simultaneously simply overwhelm the mind’s ability to resist what is being said and the positive affirmations slip straight through to the subconscious. It is normally impossible to experience this unless you can get a group of like-minded people together or you attend a workshop.

If you were ever in any doubt as to the power of Affirmations, I hope this has cleared it up for you and wish you many happy hours of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!

There are some powerful Affirmations available right here on RedBubble! Just go to Affirmations Illustrated and you can also view some beautiful and powerful Affirmation Cards in my portfolio of Affirmations

What Are Affirmations?

Maree  Clarkson

Tarlton, South Africa

Artist's Description

The ramblings of a positivity junkie who believes that that we create our own reality through our thoughts, that our emotions are constantly guiding us toward where we want to go, and that life is supposed to be fun!

  1. 17th October 2010 – FEATURED in Live, Love, Dream
  2. 18th October 2010 – FEATURED in Bits and Pieces

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