How To Use Affirmations To Change Your Life
Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. ~Unknown
The power of words spreads far beyond that of communication. The term “speaking it into existence” is one that never seems to lose it’s strength. Many times we fail to see just how powerful our words can be on another person, or even on ourselves. Our words tend to echo our thoughts, but just as important as what we say, is our intentions behind what we say. Saying “I love you” for instance is a significant and very meaningful phrase. If you use those same words, yet you clearly have negative intentions and feelings towards that person then those feelings shine through. Perhaps not the best example, considering some use that phrase as if it had no meaning, and others don’t realize what’s going on, or choose not to. The meaning, however, remains. What you say is significant, but how you say it and what you’re reasons for using the words make a difference.
An affirmation is a statement, or judgment that you declare as being true, therefore telling yourself over and over again that “I am a beautiful, successful person” without truly meaning it won’t have the same affect as if you fully meant what you said. Or will it? I hope to dive into the subject of affirmations head first and hopefully we can not only discover the effectiveness of using them, but useful situations and techniques for using them.
The Power of Words
Though when discussing traditional communication only 7% is ruled by what you say, 38% being how you say it (your tone) and 55% of which is body language, the actual words we use carry with them deeper meanings then we often consider. For instance, the word “hate” in it of itself essentially personifies negativity. We fail to consider this when we use “hate” in a sentence that rings with intended positivity such as: “I hate how they treat their children,” or “I hate not finishing something I start.” These sentences originally have positive intentions and observing these intents and how we communicated them can teach us a lot.
The first sentence is positive, or at least in this example it’s positive, considering it can be seen either way. We can assume that whoever said it is speaking on behalf of some innocent, mistreated children who are either being abused or neglected. By saying that you “hate” how they are being treated, within you, you are making a judgment that they should be treated better. Clearly this is out of sympathy for the children, as their situation has no direct relation to yourself (in this example).
The second sentence in our example is being used by an individual who is clearly struggling with an issue of no follow through. Beginning a task and never completing it is a terrible habit for anybody. By saying you “hate” it in this way is indicating that it’s disliked and the individual would rather it be the opposite.
Where both of these individuals went wrong is in their selection of words. In using the word hate we are placing ourselves and innocent children into a category they do not belong. The term hate has been used for centuries in extremely negative situations. When we think hate, we think of something that we despise so intensely we would rather be without it. Though this may be how we THINK we are feeling about our situations, that we HATE them, using such a strongly negative word does nothing beneficial for us beyond that of promoting more negativity. So in our intentions of bringing positive change to ourselves and for the children, we in essence brought negative energies into situations whereby we only meant for positivity to reign.
There was once a highly controversial study done on the effects of speech on water crystals by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Despite the many feelings on the matter, what he found reigns true in our discussion. He learned that the effects of negative intents and speech directed towards water drastically altered the crystals’ structure. The same is true for positivity, however the alterations were substantially different. All of the water crystals where negative intents, words, music, and the like were used turned out to be quite unattractive at best. On the other hand, the crystals where kind, loving, heart felt intentions and words were used had extremely attractive crystal formations.
How we feel about ourselves and others has an affect on them. For a more tangible example, look at the kids in school who were bullied or are being bullied today. Confidence and self esteem on these children are often really low. It’s fairly obvious to see the relationship between words and emotions. We know now that emotional stability largely affects your actions in life. A strong willed, confident and driven individual is more likely to strive for personal greatness than a depressed, unsure, insecure one. The quality of life then is highly affected based on this. So bringing it home, how you speak to those around you, or speak about yourself will have a major change in that person be it on the surface or within them, subconsciously. Thinking before we speak is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we don’t damage other people in the long run. This doesn’t, however, change how we are affecting ourselves, which brings us to our next topic.
The Power of Intent
Do you remember being a kid and being told no by someone for some reason or another? There are those who would probably just rebel, but then there are the others who suck it up, grit their teeth and obey. Either way, later on many of those same emotions are lingering and we tend to put on a facade and play nice, even though we really want to strangle whoever it is that attempted to, or denied our childhood pleasures. It brings up the old saying “mean what you say, say what you mean.” When we don’t particularly want to hurt another persons feelings we may say things that we in reality don’t mean. But what exactly do our intentions have to do with anything? I mean, if we say something nice even though we are thinking mean or hurtful things, what does it matter?
Well that is a good question, but using the foundation the Law of Attraction gives us, we realize that thoughts will vibrate outwards regardless of the words we speak. The more negativity we think, the more we get back. Looking at this from a spiritual stand point we can observe the trickle down affect many are aware of through things like hermetic science. Or taking a purely psychological stand point we still see this being true. How you think ultimately affects your actions whether you believe it or not. If you constantly think of failure, loss, stress, and the like, then it’s almost inevitable that you will create that within’ yourself.
So with this in hand we can see the affects of speaking to someone using positive words, but having negative intentions. It’s the same way as saying F*** *** to someone with a smile on your face. Clearly the smile is there, suggesting you are happy and in a good mood, but the words you say still may offend whoever you are talking to in a negative way, simply due to the negative connotations associated with the words used. So regardless if the person you are speaking, or thinking to/of is aware of your intentions, you are still directing negative thoughts towards that individual or yourself, and unless you are trying to use affirmations in a negative way, this will have an adverse affect on your practice.
Many practitioners of Magic(k) are also very well aware of the importance of intent. The use of “spells” and the like are in reality not governed by the actual words being said more often than not. It is more so dictated by the intent behind the words being said. The belief that specific words will be effective in bringing about change is the very driving force behind creating that change.
Beginning Affirmation Work
The actual use of affirmations is a lot more simple than people make it out to be. In short, it’s repeating a word or phrase of meaning to change something about yourself for the better. Originally I was just going to detail how to use them, but I think breaking them into two categories is even more effective. We can use affirmations in two ways, there are more but the major two are for a goal or change within yourself you are pursuing, and the other are self affirming, or esteem building affirmations.
To begin with let’s explore goal oriented affirmations. A simple affirmation in this case could be:
I Will Be Successful
This is an affirmation in it’s simplest form. Our goal is to become successful. So without leaving room for doubt or question we repeat that I will be successful. More can be added to this affirmation for a more specific goal, such as I will be successful in my new job. The basic goal here is to change your method of thinking from fear, doubt, or uncertainty to confidence in your self and your potential. The more this affirmation is used the more you will begin to act accordingly to ensure it’s success. Using affirmations such as this are something you should make a regular habit of.
Building Confidence In Yourself
Even if you are the most confident individual in the world, using these affirmations are incredibly helpful to your success in anything you pursue. They help shape the way you think of yourself, and the least amount of negativity you associate with yourself the better off you will be. Examples of these forms of affirmations are:
I am strong.
I am handsome.
I will be successful.
I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
Using “I will” and “I can” put a lot of emphasis on your affirmations. Going through and doing this is a great method for self betterment. It is confidence building and important. If you feel uncomfortable doing it than this is probably exactly what you need to be doing.
Effectively Using Affirmations
At this point we basically know what an affirmation is, and some different forms of them. Using this knowledge is where it begins to get interesting. Here are some major tips you should consider if you are looking to make affirmations a part of your daily activities.
1. Repeat It Often – every morning, when you look in the mirror, when you have free time, or any instance it comes to mind, say your affirmation out loud. The more you say it the more of a habit it becomes. These habits eventually change your thought process and that is exactly what you want. As opposed to thinking negatively you will eventually begin thinking of things in the positive sense. As opposed to making complaints you will notice yourself working to make changes that will benefit you.
2. Write it down – write down all of your affirmations. This makes the information stick and can be visible at various times of the day to remind yourself. Keep a notebook, journal, saved file on the computer, or whatever other means you want to use and write down your affirmations often. The more visible the better.
3. Meditate – meditating on your affirmations is another excellent method to continue to make them effective. You can either chant the affirmation as if it were a mantra repeatedly out loud or internally while keeping in mind the intent behind the words. Or you can just focus on the intent behind the affirmation. Do whatever you are most comfortable with, or both.
I recently came across an excellent article online at Peaceful Prosperity discussing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Energy, and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT. It is a method of utilizing affirmations by means of a mudra (hand gestures used to aid in meditation) and meditation. It’s a highly intriguing method and one I actually didn’t even know about. The specific mudra taught was different from ones I had used during traditional ki meditations and therefore interested me. I haven’t used this method yet, personally, but plan on experimenting with it to see the difference it makes. I would suggest you check it out as well: A Little More On TCM, Energy, and EFT
4. Visualization – creative visualizations are extremely useful for helping with your affirmations. If you visualize the goal of your affirmation, or rather it’s success it can have a huge impact. I would suggest visualizing from a first person perspective. For instance, if you’re affirmation is that “I will do 10 pull-ups straight by the end of the month.” Then visualizing yourself actually doing pull-ups can have a significant affect on your end results.
5. Leave Reminders – using post it notes, having a piece of paper in your wallet, having a screen saver, or anything similar with your affirmations written on it can be very helpful. The entire idea is to change the way you think to improve your quality of life or help you reach a goal, being reminded of your affirmations on a regular basis will only cement the ideas, goals, or drive within’ you to be successful.
6. Sigilization – a Sigil is actually a tool used primarily within “Chaos Magic(k),” but it is also used in various other spiritual pursuits as a meditation aid. For our case it’s a great tool to use along with our affirmations. By breaking up a specific affirmation into a shorter word or phrase we can use it in repetition along with the intent behind it to aid in meditations or focus on the end result. To create a sigil you first need to take the affirmation. Using the original affirmation of “I will be successful” we first need to break this down by removing any repeated letters. This will give us: I wl be sucf. Now you rearrange the letters to make an easier pronounced phrase: Iwl Bescuf. This is now manageable to repeat out loud or internally. From here all you need to do is focus on the intent of the sigil, that being the original affirmation. This is one of my favorite methods.
Using affirmations can have an extremely significant positive affect on your life. Using “I will” and “I can” statements are extremely useful in affirming what you mean. Making the changes you want to are possible and within your grasp. It is all up to you in the end and how much work you are willing to commit to change. Using a tape recorder and playing back your affirmations may increase their potency as well. Don’t forget that these exercises and techniques for utilizing affirmations are only a few I have personally worked with. There are many more floating around out there on both the internet and within books.
The most basic and very effective method you can use is to just write it down and repeat/remind yourself of the affirmations. I would suggest that along with using affirmations you pick one trait daily to work on improving. Not to be cliche, but Roam wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your personal changes. Never give up and even if you feel over whelmed you can get to your desired goal, it just starts with you taking the first step. Also, in the worlds of Albert Einstein, always remember that “problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Change is a must and almost inevitable, so taking it into your own hands and ensuring that change is positive is one of the best things you can do for yourself.