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The Power of Affirmations

by Nicola on 2012-03-17

The Power of Affirmations

By Dr Nicola J Davies

What we believe about ourselves and say to ourselves shapes our personality, abilities, relationships and quality of life. This, by default, puts the power to change our habits and lives in our own hands. By using affirmations, thousands of people find they can accomplish their desires and that exciting and new possibilities in life become a reality.  Affirmations can help us realise that anything is achievable through our own actions, beliefs, and perseverance. This article looks at what affirmations are, why people use them, how to apply them, and how to deal with some of the obstacles that might arise when practicing affirmations.

What are Affirmations?

Affirmations are statements people say, think or write to themselves repeatedly in order to harness the power of those statements. They are particular kinds of statements, designed to attract, support and help bring about desirable circumstances and qualities in the lives of those who use them. They are a psychological tool that anybody can use to transform their lives and circumstances for the better. They are based on the assumption that thoughts and their accompanying emotions and imagery, have a tremendous influence over behavior, mood, health, and the quality of our existence.

Through affirmations, individuals learn to consciously reprogram the mind, turning negative, self-limiting beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and self-talk into positive, empowering attributes. They allow you to take deliberate control over the negative self-talk you’ve been conditioned to repeat since childhood, and changing these to more empowering scripts. Automatic, habitual self-statements like “I can’t ....”, “I don’t have enough ....”, “I’m too old ...”, become transformed into affirming instructions like “I can ...”, “I’m capable of ...”, and “I have …”.

The philosophy behind practising affirmations involves realizing that to bring about lasting change a person needs to replace deeply rooted, negative thought processes - the source of self-sabotaging actions - with positive ones. Affirmations are thus instructions or messages from the conscious mind to the subconscious, directing the latter on how and what to think about at any moment. They are a way of aligning innate subconscious power to work in sync with the thinking, wishing, and desiring part of the self. The practice is also based on the realization that negative statements, repeated often enough, are as influential as positive ones in attracting certain circumstances into people’s lives. In short, positive self-statements attract positive situations, while negative ones manifest unwanted circumstances.

What are the Benefits of Affirmations?

Affirmations help to transform the lives of those who use them correctly and consistently. They are effective because they get to the root of why people’s lives are unfulfilled and lacking, despite many attempts to change for the better. Their power lies in altering self-perceptions; stubborn, barely noticeable, limiting and self-sabotaging visions of ourselves can turn into positive, empowering ones. People have managed to find lasting happiness, become healthier, achieve greater levels of confidence, break bad habits and adopt beneficial, healthier ones through using affirmations.

Habitually practicing affirmations has given people clarity and the conviction that finding fulfilment in life has more to do with the inner person, and less to do with outer circumstances. As a result, affirmations offer a clear and dependable road map on how to change aspects of our lives that are not on par with our desires. As a means of self-influence, they can help us turn from being our own worst enemies to our own most efficient self-healers.


How can I use Affirmations?


Effective affirmations have the following attributes:

  • They are focused on cultivating desirable personal qualities
  • They are authentic and self-directed
  • They are accurately written or spoken
  • They are repeated often
  • They are focused on the present
  • They require action.

Ideally, powerful, sound affirmations develop personal qualities that enable the individual to achieve other goals. They are not about attracting material “things,” but are aimed at cultivating aspects of the personality needed to manifest desirable circumstances. There’s little point in affirming “I am wealthy,” for example, but make no attempt to change wasteful habits. However, “I’m a frugal saver and careful investor of my funds,” is the better phrase for attracting better financial circumstances.

Effective affirmations are authentic, reflecting the genuine personal desires of the one who invented them, and not those of others.  The individual that states often “I am more patient and forgiving” will become so if that is their desire, and not because others thought they ought to be more forgiving and patient. Nor should these statements of intent be directed at others. “I’m great at finding ways to motivate my child,” is more effective than repeating “My child is motivated,” for example. These statements are about influencing the self, not others.

How we write affirmations is also important. They cannot contain negative statements if they are to be effective. Saying, “I can’t” sparks the subconscious into coming up with reasons why you cannot achieve a particular aim. Similarly, “I’ll try to lose more weight” implies this might be difficult, and, again, will make losing the desired weight a struggle. The deeper mind hears only positive words and phrases, and filters out negative ones. For example, the subconscious interprets “I am not feeling depressed” as “I’m feeling depressed” and sets out to manifest those feelings in the person uttering or believing these words.

Repeating affirmations over and over again is necessary to make them work. People who have years of experience working with affirmations suggest repeating the same empowering phrases again and again with intense emotion for at least 21 days in a row. By then the subconscious takes the intent seriously, and starts to work towards making it real. Setting aside a few minutes every day for practicing affirmative statements is likely to bring the desired outcomes. It has to become habitual, like brushing your teeth.

It is also important to phrase a wanted outcome as something already happening now, even though it has yet to become a reality. Imagining the wished-for situation as something that will come will keep it in the future, beyond reach and unattainable. Hence, writing “I’m losing weight” will achieve the longed-for results, while “I want to lose weight” is likely to remain a wish.

Many other factors are important when working with affirmations, but the above suggestions are the most common and useful of these. What ought to be remembered is that what we feed the subconscious mind on a regular basis through self-talk, compelling it to respond in a way that’s in line with these instructions and messages. Negative thoughts give birth to unwanted realities, while positive self-talk creates desirable, empowering realities.

Issues And Answers

For affirmations to have a positive impact requires daily practice and patience. It also demands focus, an awareness of resistance, and the certainty that they are authentic. However, newcomers to this way of self-transformation are prone to give up too early when expected results aren’t immediately forthcoming. To change a mind-set conditioned through years of self-doubt and negative self-talk requires time to shake self-sabotaging habits. This applies to everyone, but this mental frame can be transformed though patience and consistent practice with well-crafted affirmations.

Staying focused is key. There is nothing wrong with posting written affirmations all over the house or office as reminders of your intentions. However, take care that these don’t become part of the environment like furniture, as this can result in them being overlooked and losing their vitality.

When resistance in the form of doubt or any negativity show up, welcome it as an expected guest. There’s nothing wrong with its appearance and, indeed, the way to disempower its effect is through awareness of its presence. When flashes of self-doubt flare up, it might help to write them down, as a sign of acknowledging their existence, but refrain from entertaining them through self-criticism. Like all guests, they will soon realize they’re overstaying their welcome in a mind that makes space for their presence, but refuses to entertain them for long.

When one or a few affirmations still seem distant from manifesting after a while of diligent practice, it might be worth going back to the drawing board and checking their authenticity. This involves asking and answering the question: “Whose affirmation is this really? Mine? My husband’s, father’s, or the company manager’s?” Affirmations are meant for the person who creates them.

Any new behavior or attitude can become habitual if practiced enough, and this is also the case with affirmations. The powerful subconscious part of the personality believes what it hears over and over, without making distinctions between whether it’s true or inaccurate. It needs proper guidance and input from the conscious person in bringing about a healthy, successful, contented and creative individual who thrives in abundance. In other words, it needs genuine, well-composed, affirmations designed to cultivate desirable personal qualities and characteristics.

Online Sources:


Tarot can help you devise some personal affirmations:


Affirmations Your Passport to Happiness by Anne Marie Evers (Oct 3, 2011)

Self-Esteem Affirmations by Louise L. Hay (Aug 1, 2006)


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