The True Power of Positive Self-Affirmations
Nothing has impact on one’s self esteem quite like getting to the point of actualizing affirmations! Also known as “I statements”, affirmations can be defined as, “the action or process of affirming something or of being affirmed”. That definition is a little vague, so, we’ll state here both definitions of the act of affirming as (1) “to states as fact; strongly and publicly” or (2) “offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement”. Both are highly applicable for our purposes today. Did you know, we use affirmations all of the time? Most often, though, to gain the emotional support or encouragement we desire. Affirmations can come from others, but did you know that you yourself can be a treasure trove of affirmations as well? These affirmative statements from ourselves are called “self-affirmations”.
Self-affirmations are healing, positive self-scripts that you give to yourself in order to counter your otherwise negative self-scripts. They are vessels through which to free yourself from the over-dependence on the opinions, attitudes, or feelings that others have about you (or the negative feelings you may harbor about yourself). They allow you to visualize a new order and sense in your life that you can work toward achieving. By affirming oneself, you’re taking personal responsibility for your health and emotional stability.
So what’s the benefit of positive self-affirmations? These kinds of affirmations, when practiced regularly, will eventually help you to let go of the negative emotional baggage you may be carrying. When you change your belief system through the help of positive self-affirmations, you grant yourself the ability to truly deal with your life in a realistic and positive manner. Resolving negative feelings from the past gives way to seeing your present for what it is and with an unobstructed view.
Actualizing affirmations gives you permission to grow, to become a positive risk-taker, and to rise up and create a better life - the one you likely already desire. Affirmations are your words in action! They will help you get to the point of letting go of the people and worries that are draining your resources and keeping you from experiencing full personal health and joy. And truly, full personal health and joy is a right we all have! Claiming these rights intrinsic to each of us opens the door to achieving our fullest potentials. If you dare to visualize, imagine, and believe in your ability to achieve success, then so it shall be!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what affirmations are and the doors they open up in our lives, let’s dive deeper into the specifics of the “I statement”. These one-line statements exist in three forms: I am, I can, and I will. Each of these statements are important to the process of change through positive self-affirmations.
This is a positive statement that speaks to your real state of being; the one that exists in you currently (i.e., a statement of who you are right now). Go ahead and create a list of your I am statements by taking a personal and honest inventory of your attributes, strengths, talents, and competencies.
Examples include: I am competent, I am strong, I am intelligent, I am beautiful, I am a good person, I am caring, I am loving, I am smart, I am creative, I am talented, I am energetic, I am enthusiastic, I am relaxed, I am joyful, I am trusting, I am able, I am generous, etc.
Now, add to it attributes that describe who you want to be. This is the first step in change through affirmations. You are beginning to teach your brain that you ARE these positive traits.
This is a positive statement that affirms your ability to accomplish goals. It is a statement of belief in your power to grow, to change, and to help yourself (i.e., a statement of your potential). “I can” statements are developed once you’ve developed a set of "short-term" (three to six months) goals. Do you have any of these goals established already? If not, let’s set some.
Examples include: I can lose weight, I can choose a healthy lifestyle, I can manage my children, I can grow, I can heal, I can let go of guilt, I can be confident, I can become fearless, I can take risks, I can change, l can be a winner, I can be positive, I can be strong, I can solve problems, I can laugh and have fun, I can be honest with my feelings, I can be assertive, I can let go of being compulsive, I can control my temper, etc.
All it takes is saying “I can” followed by the words that describe what you want to be able to do or what action you want to take.
This is a positive affirmation that speaks life to the change(s) you want to make, or to something you want to achieve. It is a positive statement of what you want to happen. You may have also heard this kind of statement referred to as a “success prophecy”." These statements are developed after you’ve set the priorities for the short-term goals you set (i.e., these statements follow I can statements).
Examples include: I will like myself more each day, I will lose weight each day, I will gain emotional strength each day, I will control my temper today, I will give others responsibility for their lives today, I will grow emotionally stronger each day, I will smile more today, I will offer my comments in class today, I will praise my children today, I will feel good about myself today, I will sleep easily tonight, I will feel less guilt each day, I will courageously face my fears today, I will take on only what I can handle today, I will take care of me today, I will manage my time better today, I will handle my finances wisely today, I will take a risk that causes me to grow today, etc.
All it takes is saying the words, “I will” followed by the words that describe what you’d like to accomplish.
There are an endless number of affirmations that you can think up. So tinker and play around with what feels right for you and your short- and long-term goals. Once you find the ones that best fit your goals, then process them until they become your new and normal way of thinking. To help make your affirmations meaningful and a reality, it takes more than just “thinking about them from time to time”. Instead, take the time to fully process and focus on your affirmation through these three steps:
- Determine your affirmation. Example: Today, I will love myself.
- Write it down. Write the affirmation on a 3x5 index card or on a sticky note (“I love myself”). Then, place it somewhere that you will see if often (on a desk at work if most of your day is spent in an office or taped to a car dashboard if you drive often).
- Say it out loud: Everytime you look at your note, say it as if speaking directly to yourself: “I love you.” You can say it in thought, quietly under your breath, or out loud. If you can, always say it out loud. This is the strongest version of your affirmation because you think it, hear it, and even feel the sound and power of your words.
As shown by some of the world’s best and most successful scholars, writing and verbalizing together can be more powerful than each alone. The same is true of your affirmations. Writing and verbalizing them makes them more real. Do this with all of your affirmations if you can (or focus on the ones that are most important to actualize at present).
The final and most important piece in positive self-affirming is to allow yourself to feel the emotions that your words create. Using the example above, when you say to yourself, “I love you”, then purposefully and willfully allow yourself to feel love. Understand that this is a process, and you might not be able to do this right away; so if you can’t create the feeling of yourself, then start by thinking of someone else that you love (creating that feeling of love). Eventually, and with enough practice, you’ll find that you only need to think of and envision yourself to actualize the emotions of your affirmation. That is the true power of positive self-affirmations.
This information was adapted from Metabolic Research Center’s “Connections” curriculum classes and from Roger Gould, M.D.; “Shrink Yourself”. This and a complete set of 11 other classes are available to all Metabolic Research Center clients. Interested in learning more about this and other classes? Connect with a Weight Loss Specialist local to you today. These classes are complimentary to all active clients, and connect you to an environment of support and success that helps facilitate positive changes in your long term diet and daily life.
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