What Are Affirmations?
An Affirmation is a positive thought or idea that you consciously focus on in order to produce a desired result. The affirmation is a simple yet powerful tool that can heal and transform your most deeply held beliefs.
Affirmations are based upon the following two principles:
1) Your outer reality is a direct reflection of your predominant thoughts and beliefs.
2) Change your thoughts and you change your reality.
A related principles states:
3) Your thoughts manifest through both the written word and the spoken word (“What you say is what you get”).
Affirmations are based on the second habit from Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People — “begin with the end in mind.” According to Covey, this habit arises from the principle that “all things are created twice”—first in the mind and then in the world of form. In composing an affirmation, you create an exact mental blueprint or picture of the feeling or condition that you that you are seeking to bring into your life.
For example, many years ago, I left a secure job to pursue my writing full time. Consequently, I was a bit anxious and apprehensive about how I would fare. To allay my fears, I created the following affirmation: I have the ability to create support for myself in my life.
Over the next few weeks I would repeat these words, either to myself or out loud. When I did so, I experienced a calmness and confidence and a decrease in my fear. The effect was subtle, but clearly noticeable. Whenever I felt self-doubt or anxiety, I simply recited the affirmation which created a state of peace and serenity.
More than allaying my fears, I was reprogramming my subconscious mind to believe that I could be competent in the world. This new belief led to corresponding changes in behavior which created the outcome I desired—a series of completed books.
This is the first level of how affirmations work
— by making life a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When boxing great Muhammed Ali first proclaimed “I AM THE GREATEST”, he was a relatively unknown boxer named Cassius Clay. Ten years and thousands of repetitions later, he was hailed as the greatest fighter of all time. Ali had tapped into the power of affirmation.
In a similar fashion, affirmations are used by many spiritual traditions to help people to develop spiritual strengths. For example, in the book of Job we are told, “Let the weak say, I am strong.” And the book One Day at a Time, a bedrock of the 12-step movement, advises, “Just for today, I will be unafraid.” Such affirmative statements are not intended to deny reality of a difficulty—rather they create an energy field that allows the individual to manifest the good that he is seeking.