This post is 2 of 3 in the series: The Power of Affirmations.
Here’s the thing your mind is lying to you.
In Part 1, we talked about the power of affirmations to deal with the head trash that keeps you unhappy and unfulfilled.
But pick the wrong affirmation and you’ll do more harm than good.
Be Very Careful With Affirmations
Affirmations are personal because they reprogram the way you think.
Your subconscious mind takes everything literally.
If you affirm, “I am earning more money,” your work load might double because you have to earn the extra money. Bummer! Your sincere and positive intention created an unforeseen consequence. Make sure the words you choose accurately portray exactly the results you intend to achieve.
Be careful what you ask for.
If you affirm patience, do you think the universe will just magically change you? More likely it will send you opportunities to practice being more patient. That would be very helpful for your spiritual growth, but may not be what you intended.
Here is one of my favorite affirmations to get you started.
I use it frequently because I realize that much of my worrying and fear comes from a lack of faith that I will be taken of, that I will have everything I need (not necessarily want).
I go forth in perfect faith
in the power of omnipresent good
to bring me what I need
at the time I need it.” Paramhansa Yogananda
Proven Guidelines for Affirmations
Effective affirmations share some time-tested attributes that you need to be aware of whether you write your own or use someone else’s.
Affirm a “want” not a “should.”
You must want it.
Now, that seems too obvious to even mention.
But often we don’t know what we really want. We have bought into the ideas of what other people think we should be, have, do.
For example, your father wants you to go to law school and earn a lot of money like him. But your heart’s desire is to go to Brazil and help save the rain forests. For you, money is a should, not a priority.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having financial goals. I have them myself.
My point is that affirmations work for your true needs and desires, not your “shoulds.”
Another example: instead of visualizing driving a Porsche, ask why do you want the car, how will it make you feel. If the answer is “happy,” then choose an affirmation about happiness, visualize yourself as happy and feel happy already. Getting a powerful, luxurious car may make you happy for awhile, but lasting happiness can’t be found in external objects.
Keep asking “Why?” until you get to your true need or desire. (Some people recommend 5 times.)
To find out if you’re using an appropriate affirmation, notice whether or not you continue doing it, whether or not the goal really excites you, whether or not it gives you energy.
Don’t focus on what you don’t want.
Affirmations must be positive, because negative affirmations reinforce the reality you want to overcome.
For example, you might affirm, “I’m not going to eat chocolate.”
What does the subconscious mind focus on? “Chocolate!” The subconscious mind doesn’t pay attention to negative words like “not.” It just sees “chocolate.”
Try something like this instead:
“I nourish my body temple with healthy food.”
If you want to overcome a negative emotion such as fear, anger, or anxiety, concentrate on and cultivate the opposite quality. For example:
- Fear: Bravery and love
- Anger: Peace and good-will
- Weakness: Strength
- Anxiety: Peace and calmness.
Inspiring. Believable. Practical.
Select an affirmation that is inspiring enough to make you want to stretch, but not so far outside your realistic beliefs that there is no point of inner connection.
It must also take you in a direction that is natural to your own line of growth.
If the affirmation is too large or too foreign to your own nature, it won’t work. In fact, it can actually make things worse.
Joe asked a friend why his affirmation for prosperity wasn’t working.
He had a low-paying job and a huge credit card debt.
His affirmation was: “My new business brings me a million dollars a year.”
Even as he said it, my friend could feel the tension and conflict in him.
“You don’t really believe a word of that, do you?” she asked.
“NO!” Joe answered.
Instead of strengthening him, the more he used that affirmation, the more his subconscious rebelled against it.
“I think you need to affirm something that is realistically possible — something that you can actually believe,” she suggested.
They finally decided on: “I am in control of my finances.”
It’s not as exciting, but it was where Joe was at the time and reflected the next step he needed to take.
They also came up with some practical steps he could take to get his finances in order, and an affirmation to raise his energy level because money is attracted to qualities such as creativity, service, openness, inner power, perseverance, gratitude, action, enthusiasm, and energy.
Be sure your affirmations feel authentic for you.
You may want to build up gradually by affirming smaller steps towards your goal.
First Person, Present Tense
Affirmations should be stated in the first person, present tense.
What’s wrong with this? “I will be healthy soon.” Well, when is soon?
The subconscious mind has no concept of past or future. It thinks the careless thing your mother said twenty years ago is still relevant. Try, “I am well, for perfection is in me.”
Are you lying to yourself? No. An affirmation is a statement of a higher truth. It helps us tune into that higher reality, higher potential. Go beyond facts and circumstances into the higher truths.
More Affirmations You Can Use
Look through our affirmation articles to find ones that speak to you.
Take the words inside and feel if they resonate with your heart.
Do they describe the results you really want?
How do they make you feel?
OK, now that you’ve selected your affirmation, you may be wondering what to do with it. Find out the most powerful way of saying affirmations and some other tricks to using them effectively in Part 3: “The Most Powerful Way To Say An Affirmation”.