Do Affirmations Really Work? – The Good & Bad of Affirmations
by Erika Slater
There’s a lot of information and literature on affirmations and whether or not they truly work.
One of the most profound and famous affirmations can be found in the Holy Bible in Proverbs 23:7; “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. When you discuss and interpret this, one meaning can be what and how you think about yourself, is who you will see yourself as being and becoming.
Basically, if you think about yourself a certain way, feel a certain way, then you’ll start to act that way until you eventually become that individual… that way of ‘being.’
But do affirmations really work?
I want to explore this today as my experience and opinion is… the answer isn’t black and white or put another way, the dreaded answer… it depends.
But don’t lose heart, as behind those words lies the secrets to affirmations…
WHAT ARE AFFIRMATIONS?
Affirmations refer to the practice of repeating to yourself a desire, or outcome, you want to achieve for yourself with the expectation that repeating the thought will lead to manifesting that desire into your life.
Affirmations are an ‘inside’ job. The concept here is whatever you say to yourself over and over will likely become your reality.
The affirmations you create for yourself usually come from parents or significant others who are your roles models.
They’ll tell you how and what they think of you, and over time you’ll accept their beliefs as your own.
This is how your self-esteem and self-confidence is created early on in your life.
Since your parents are the voice of authority, you’ll believe what they tell you as the honest truth, even the negative things they say about you, to you. Regardless, you’ll use their belief systems usually as your own and also become what they say you are.
The problem is too many people accept the negative instead of filtering it out, and they create for themselves negative affirmations.
Affirmations are powerful when they’re spoken aloud.
Did you know words have immense power? If you don’t believe they do, look around. Any man-made structure or anything created by human hands was ‘spoken into existence’ and created. You first had to think about it, and then believe you could create it, and perhaps discuss it with others (larger goals) and receive their support, assistance and beliefs. The process I’ve just described is basically ‘affirmations in action.’
For affirmations to be powerful, they have to have feelings attached to them; passion, excitement, expectancy and hope.
When you add these positive ingredients to affirmations then these intentions are set in motion leading to accomplishment and achievement.
Intentions rule peoples’ lives and often times they don’t even know they’re doing it as they’re living unconsciously, bringing things into their lives, or doing things through mere conditioning (the way the things have always been – remembered and learned in childhood).
Whenever you speak things out loud about yourself, you’re giving words power. Some would assert the Universe is picking up on your vibrational energy and you’ll attract into your life what you most talk about.
Speaking your words reflects your belief system you hold as your current reality and you’ll act in a certain manner, indicative of your affirmations which will ‘will’ or create a future based on your words…what you’re saying about yourself.
A dose of reality here…
This is all well and good but if we stop the discussion there then what I’ve seen happen is people setting affirmations that work against them rather than help.
The “devil is in the details” as they say, and you’re about to be subjected to the good and bad of affirmations.
THE GOOD AND BAD OF AFFIRMATIONS:
Being authenticate is better for the soul than trying to convince somebody you’re something – like an expert on something – that you’re not. It causes you stress, and most folks can see through somebody who’s not acting real. It comes down to confidence or lack of it being portrayed.
Put this down to the field I work in and the fact is people come to me with problems and if I take them on then there’s an expectation I help them fix the problem or at least guide them to change and overcome it.
I do understand many in the business and entertainment world subscribe to the “fake it to you make it” sentiment because it can help them get business, make the sale, or whatever. But highly unlikely a cardiologist trying to solve a heart disease problem for somebody will take on an operation he knows a colleague is more equipped to handle.
There’s also another “person” who knows when you’re faking it… you… or more specifically your unconscious mind.
Affirmations should be specific and not a lie. The words you choose are important.
To me standing in front of a mirror and repeating the mantra “I am thin” or the equivalent, in the desire that you’ll eventually be thin is not a worthwhile affirmation if you’re obviously overweight. Your unconscious mind is not fooled and subconsciously responds “in your dreams princess.”
Don’t do this to yourself.
A better affirmation if you’re dieting and actively doing something to change your circumstances is to repeat something like this:
“It is my responsibility to take care of my body by feeding it healthy food and following my chosen diet so I can reach my desired weight.”
This is positive, realistic, and encapsulates a specific intent about what you’ll do each day. Your chosen words will be different, but don’t try and fool your unconscious mind into helping you achieve something without providing the plan on how you’ll get there.
People have long been confused about affirmations as tied to the “law of attraction.” I’ve seen articles conveying you can “will” wealth by affirming the equivalent of “I am a millionaire” even if you’re struggling to pay the rent that month.
There’s nothing wrong in having that as an intent. But when it comes to converting that to an affirmation you need to describe how you will achieve it, and be able to measure it daily when you repeat the affirmation. And you have to do the work!
If you need more examples of affirmations in all areas of your life then get Hal Elrod’s Free Miracle Morning 30-Day Life Challenge Kit and I’ve put a link to it in the resource section below to get you started.
The next question I get on affirmations is when to do them.
The flippant answer is anytime, but while true, I would stick to first thing in the morning and last thing at night before bed. I don’t know what the split is between these options because Google won’t tell me, but based on my client’s and experience bedtime seems to be popular.
People feel that “speaking” affirmations immediately before going to sleep let’s your unconscious mind work on them overnight. This seems to be the same logic working here as when you have a problem and state it before sleep, so your unconscious mind can figure it out overnight. There’s a reason people say don’t make a decision now – “sleep on it.”
I’m not going to argue against this logic, but I can make equal arguments on doing your affirmations first thing in the morning so you start your day off right. Choose your preference and stay with it. If you want to consider working directly with me on choosing and instilling your affirmations through my online and in-office sessions, then check out my Special Hypnosis Services Programs.
Affirmations that wear a false mask and echo entitlement without commitment deserve to fail and be buried without a marker.
Affirmations written with realism and “dressed for work” help remind you daily of your goals and how you’ll get to them. These are positive and honest ones to include in your daily habits.
Repeat your affirmations first thing in the morning to enter your day and to spend your waking hours in pursuit of them, or close your day before bed with them in your thoughts so your unconscious brain can decipher how best to support you achieving them.
Why stop at one? You should have an affirmation for each major aspect of your life. Let your imagination, and affirmations, run wild!
Having trouble instilling the habits needed to make your affirmations live outside your thoughts? Pick up my free habit change MP3 download here >>>
May your hard-working affirmations all come to be.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO AFFIRMATIONS:
Erika Slater CH
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