The use of affirmations to help us make positive changes in our lives is such a huge thing right now.
Everywhere you look these days you see positive statements about things – it’s often very uplifting, but some ‘affirmations’ can also be very cheesy and banal and sometimes downright false!
Affirmation, the actual word, comes from two Latin words ‘ad’ meaning ‘to’, and firmare meaning to ‘make firm’.
Essentially then, affirmation is about making things clear.
At its core, based on its aetiology, it is a declaration, a firm statement about what we believe and hold true and rely on in our lives.
But is every positive statement you see something you want to hold as a firm and reliable truth for your life?
The thing is, there are affirmations and then there are affirmations!
For an affirmation to be really effective it is essential that it is believable.
Here is why.
When we try and repeat something in our conscious minds that sounds good but is a bit of a stretch, if we don’t actually find it to be credible and reasonable, our self-talk will constantly sabotage its capacity to sink in.
It’s hard enough work persuading our self-talk to remain in tune with us about things we believe. We haven’t a hope of convince ourselves of wildly unbelievable things – we are rational human beings and for the most part if it is a big stretch from what we really think, we won’t be able to hoodwink ourselves.
And nor should we even try!
I believe in the power of affirmation to bring about significant changes in our lives. I believe in it as much as I believe in the sun’s capacity to rise each day. I know it is a powerful tool for changing deeply entrenched false thinking and negative ideas. But I believe with all my heart that to really harness the power of affirmation we need to make our affirmations grounded in reality and to do this they must be reasonable, reachable and believable.
The affirmations I have personally found the most beneficial, and continue to use the most frequently on Recovering Your Life and promote, are worded in terms of Just For Today.
You may have seen these on the Facebook page or the iPhone App. On the Facebook page I post one each day that relates to the theme or topic for the day.
I have always found this style of affirmation more helpful personally and I know that for many of us change can be very daunting, even if we really want it, and to make the things we are working on a little more manageable, then thinking in terms of doing them just this day is more of a possibility.
For all of us. I believe we can try a new way of doing things just for today. We can think a different way just for today. We can try harder just for today……Focusing on change just for today then is reasonable and at the same time reachable.
As well as these, I do find other affirmations useful too, especially ones we might write for ourselves.
This is an amazing way of keeping our affirmations grounded and believable.
When I write affirmations, I always use the personal pronoun….. it is always about what I can do. But I especially find the use of I will very powerful and influential as it connects us to our choice centre – it reminds us that to make new choices we must use our will.
Do avoid the use of words like should, could, ought to……these imply judgement, and expectations and these do not help us to make changes. I will, I can, I am….these are much more powerful forms.
If the idea of positive affirmation seems a bit ‘out there’ for you, but you are willing to give them a bit of a try, start with listing your positive qualities. Think of an element of your strengths rather than your weaknesses. For example, when feeling like you can’t keep going through a hard situation, try this: I am a strong person, I have endured much harder things before and because I have, I know I can again.
Focusing on things that seem incredible to us will not achieve the results we might hope for. But if instead we focus on believable, reachable and reasonable - grounded-in-reality things, we will likely have much more success.
Sue Parry-Jones is a trained counsellor, a social worker and survivor of abuse. The content of the blog is both personal and sound. The words are relate-able and widely appealing to those struggling with survival from abuse in their own lives. More and more we are appreciating in our society that abuse affects a number of people’s lives and as more people are beginning to openly discuss what they have endured, so there is a huge need for encouragement and hope in the form of texts that deliver clear and concise yet real input. THe words shared here are honest, real and heart-felt.