All About Affirmations

affirmations[This article about affirmations first appeared in the AffirmingSpirit Newsletter in 2004. It has been revised and updated for the enjoyment of blog-readers.]

Regardless of what we want to accomplish or experience in our lifetimes, we need to have, and know how to use, the right tools. The proper tool not only assists you in doing the job right, it makes the process much easier. So it is with daily affirmations—a powerful tool to shift your attitude, energy level, and motivate you to make life changes.

The Origin of Affirmations

The exact origin of affirmations is unclear, although only the priests and elite members of ancient societies had the ability to read and write. It is believed that illiterate masses were taught snippets of scripture or prayer to repeat while doing their chores throughout the work day.

We can affirm a positive or a negative, so for the sake of this post, I’m referring to positive affirmations. What we focus upon, we expand…and affirmations allow us to consciously choose our focus.

In the 1800s, Émile Coué (French psychologist and pharmacist) became famous worldwide for his life-changing ‘auto-suggestions’. He was noticing that, despite being given the same medications, some of his patients were healing more quickly than others. As he talked to his patients he discovered that those who healed the quickest were very positive about their health and had very positive self-talk. Those patients in poor health spoke mostly about their problems and disappointments. Noticing this discrepancy, he wondered if he could teach his patients with poor health to have better self-talk.

Coué developed one simple affirmation, that he called an auto-suggestion, which he gave to all his ill patients along with their prescriptions:

Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better!

It soon became very clear which patients were using that affirmation, as they were the ones who quickly recovered! This is one reason that this one affirmation has become one of the most famous and often quoted. Mr. Coué went on to write and share his idea of auto-suggestion, which today we call affirmations.

Like any tool, affirmations work best when used properly and regularly.

The Most Powerful Affirmations Are:
1. Written in the present tense
as if what you desire has already appeared in your life.
2. Contain positive wording and do not contain words like no, not, don’t, can’t, won’t, etc., or words relating to what you are choosing to leave behind.
3. Evoke joy or an uplifting emotion when you read them. If they make you smile or giggle, that’s good, too!

Every human being is unique, so I have found that the best affirmations are those that are customized for each person’s interests and emotions. Are there some generic affirmations that feel good to read? Sure. But, they easily become ineffective because they stop producing a positive emotional response. If you have been doing affirmations without seeing a result, check to see if they adhere to the three guidelines above.

Here are the 5 ways that daily affirmations can be most effective:

1. Focusing/refocusing your attention
You attract into your life what you think about, and yet life in the 21st century is so fast-paced that we are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages. This is why so many people have chaotic lives. How can anyone stay focused on positive thoughts? Properly crafted affirmations help you stay focused upon, or refocus your attention upon, your consciously-chosen subject(s). Saying, reading, or thinking your affirmations every day will keep you on track, or get you back on track, with ease.

2. Shifting your attitude/energy
Scientists tell us that the world is made up entirely of energy, and that we can impact that energy with our thoughts. The energy you carry in your body can either be stressful and unhappy, or it can be joyful and uplifting. These thoughts that evoke emotions trigger the release of hormones that alter the chemical make-up of your body. The good news is that we get to choose which energy we want to carry, and we get to choose how we respond to external stimuli. Affirmations that evoke a positive or uplifting feeling are the perfect tool to ensure that you are carrying the kind of energy that makes you happy. The longer you use such affirmations, the more your body and mind will become accustomed to that energy. Over time, being joyful and happy will become a habit you won’t want to break! The next time you are feeling blue, start saying some of your favorite affirmations and you will see how quickly your energy shifts!

3. Releasing old thoughts that no longer serve you
All of us have, at one time or another, experienced something we’d rather not have experienced. As a result, we may have developed some thoughts or attitudes that keep us stuck in that past experience. For instance, someone who was not popular in high school may have convinced themselves that they don’t deserve appreciation or admiration from others. Of course, this is not true, but a past belief—so embedded into your mind that you don’t consciously think about it—can be dictating your present choices and attitudes. Such a person could begin with affirmations like… I naturally attract relationships with people who appreciate me…Everyone I know and meet loves to interact with me…People naturally enjoy my company and I enjoy being myself!

4. Creating new possibilities for happiness
Abraham, as seen in The Secret, has said that when you focus on what’s wrong in your life you only create more of what’s wrong in your life. However, if you momentarily ignore what you see around you and consciously focus on what you’d prefer to experience, you will, in that moment, begin opening the door for the new possibility of your preference. The mind does not know the difference between reality, a past experience, or imagination. Affirmations allow you to use AffirmingSpirit Affirmation Cardsthe power of your imagination to create new possibilities for your future happiness. Some people consider this praying, and in fact, it is believed that affirmations were first created when simple prayers were memorized by illiterate churchgoers. Worry and anger is praying for what you don’t want. Positive affirmations are praying for something you do want.

5. Attracting consciously rather than by default
Most people are taught that life is hard and everyone has to struggle for everything from happiness to money. This is just a past thought that has been passed along through the generations. As a result, most people expect to be miserable and have problems, and they attract just that. When you write your own affirmations, you get to choose how you want to feel and experience your life. That conscious choice, and the effort you make to say your affirmations regularly, means you are no longer living your life by default—tolerating whatever comes your way. Instead, your attention, energy, and thoughts are all focused in the same direction toward what you have consciously chosen to experience. That is a powerful and effective way to create a life you really want to live!

6. Establishing a Daily Affirmations Practice
Like any exercise for the body, affirmations are most effective when used daily. Most people cringe at this thought—until they put it into action and experience the results. Initially, you may need to read your Affirmations. But, soon, you will begin to know them by heart. At that point, you can say them while you are driving to or from work, during quiet times throughout the day, and while you are exercising.

It is not uncommon that when we first say an affirmation, it might feel awkward. Some people resist affirmations because they sound like a lie. We might not feel well, or be struggling, so affirming that we’re doing well in that moment can be a stretch. But as we continue to repeat an affirmation that lights us up, our consciousness will expand to include the idea the affirmation evokes. Repetition is important for this reason.

Author and speaker Chellie Campbell likes to do hers while she brushes her teeth. That way, she’s sure to have time to do her affirmations every day! I say them throughout the day, while exercising, driving, cleaning/tidying, and whenever else I feel inspired.

Find a time that works for you, and begin your daily practice. You may be surprised how easy—and effective— doing daily affirmations can be!

7. Taking Baby Steps Versus Quantum Leaps
If you are struggling from paycheck to paycheck, it may seem strange to say affirmations like I am a joyous multi-millionaire! While it absolutely is possible to make a quantum leap from being broke to being flush with money, if such an affirmation feels wrong to you on every level, then it won’t work. It’s very important, as Abraham constantly points out, to pay attention to how you feel. Affirmations are most powerful when they make you feel happy and uplifted, or at the very least: expansive.

It is important to note here that affirmations help us expand our consciousness, and that process often does FEEL awkward at the beginning. By the time an affirmation feels like it is already happening, that is an indication that your consciousness has expanded to incorporate the new idea. So, when you commit to an affirmation every day for a few weeks, and it still feels awkward, you might be trying to take a quantum leap in consciousness before you are ready.

For those who don’t quite feel ready for a quantum leap, their best approach to affirmations might be to make baby steps using ‘bridge’ affirmations that move you incrementally toward your desire. Instead of I am a joyous multi-millionaire!, start with a baby step—from where you are to where you want to go—that feels better and more doable. In this example, imagine yourself living comfortably off your current income, having money left over, and receiving raises that allow you to live even more comfortably. Good affirmations might be…Every day I am feeling better about my income!…My paychecks are lasting longer and longer!…My income is growing every day…Money flows easily to me, and I enjoy receiving extra money! Soon, you will find your mind can easily expand to accept ideas that previously seemed too extreme.

Afformations, made well known by Noah St. John’s book by the same name, are also helpful for people who struggle with using traditional affirmations. Afformations are affirmations in question form, often starting with ‘Why’. They work because they bypass the conscious thinking mind while triggering the subconscious mind to find the answers. Examples might be…Why am I feeling better about my income? Why are my paychecks lasting longer and longer? Why is my income growing every day? Why is money flowing easily to me?

Also, repeating a single word or a few words, rather than a phrase, can also help you tap into a higher vibration while bypassing your conscious thinking mind. For instance, you  might take the words ‘health, love, prosperity’ and repeat them slowly, mindfully for a few minutes several times a day, or during a meditation or while doing chores. When I do this, I find myself becoming aware of the health, love, and prosperity already present in my life.

Follow Your Intuition
The bottom line is that YOU know which affirmations feel best for YOU. Yes, you really do! When something is right for you, it feels good…joyous…oh-so-right! Focus on the choices that feel really good, let Source speak to you, and follow your intuition to your perfect path. Whether they are quantum leaps or baby steps, customizing your affirmations to your level of joy is key to their effectiveness!

Need more help with your affirmations?
Trust your own feelings, as they are your personal guide to what is best for you. If you still feel you need help, download my free Six Steps to Powerful Affirmations eCourse which will guide you to write your most powerful affirmations. Feel free to share the link with your friends, too!

If you’re still needing help, I am happy to offer paid mentoring to help individuals overcome their unique blocks to getting the most from affirmations.

Have some positive experiences with affirmations? Share them with us in the comments section…

Have You Been Stoking the ‘Need’?

Are you Stoking the NEEDYears ago, I knew someone who used to call me every few hours insisting that she ‘needed me’ to solve the crisis-of-the-moment. In reality, none of these crises actually existed, except in this person’s mind. Despite being fully capable of handling these crises herself, she had convinced herself that I was the *only* person who could help.

Initially, I spent copious time patiently reassuring her and answering her same questions over and over and over. Talking to her positively, encouraging her to see the bigger picture. Meanwhile, I kept wondering WHY this particular person constantly  calling with dramatic stories of needing rescue.

Then, it dawned on me.

This was a common pattern for this gal. Despite being fully qualified in many ways, she had convinced herself that she wasn’t…and that she needed others to rescue her…everyday! She was clearly carrying a story around that must have been something like:

OH, NO…I don’t think I can handle this. This is too hard! I’m not capable or smart enough to figure this out. I don’t want to be alone with this [fill in the blank problem] because there’s NO WAY I can figure it out myself. Someone else has to help me! OMG – HELP! CRISIS! DISASTER LOOMS…HELP…HELP!!!

While she unconsciously stoked the feelings of urgency, crisis, lack and ‘need’ within herself,  it was manifesting in her outer world…or, rather it appeared to her as manifesting. To me, she seemed to be anticipating problems more than actually experiencing them. Law of Attraction was lining her up with experiences that would make her right.  How we show up in the world reflects our self-talk and deepest inner beliefs.

As I type this, and reflect back on this time in my life, this person was also a mirror for me to see my own ‘need to rescue’. Since like vibrations cohere, Law of Attraction was responding to my need by lining me up with someone who needed to be rescued.

In the beginning, I was happy to be of assistance. But over time, it was no longer fun for me to interact with this friend only in this way. In fact, it was downright exhausting and it was not a functional friendship since I was only called to put out fires, not to relate as a friend.

Do you recognize yourself in either of these examples?

If you like this experience, by all means, keep creating it! If you don’t then in order for Law of Attraction to deliver something different, you have to be willing to shift your energy. That sounds tricky, but it’s not as difficult as you might think.

First, start telling a different story. Even if it’s just a softer version of the story you’ve been telling yourself, begin anew. This friend might have started by shifting her self-talk to something like, I usually like to have help, but I am a capable adult…I wonder how much of this I can resolve on my own. If I can’t figure it out by [date], then I will ask around. Then, taking any actions that she felt guided to take that aligned with the new story.

If telling the new story feels too hard, or brings up lower energies of fear, worry, and doubt, it can be helpful to use a tool like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to address those feelings and begin to clear them before you start telling a new story.

The new story I actually told myself to shift out of this experience was I appreciate and cultivate healthy, functional friendships with kind people who are capable and helpful. Abraham has said, when we shift our own energy, our experience must shift in response. In fact, other people may meet us in the new vibration, or they may vibrate right out of our experience. In this particular situation, the person seemed to magically stop calling me, and eventually we lost touch. As I let go of the ‘need to rescue’, this person may have lost the need for help or may have connected with someone else who ‘needed to rescue’.

Second, remember times in your past when you exhibited capability. Chances are, you have many, but may not give them much mental attention. Change that now…close your eyes, remember those times, and feel how it feels in your body. Remember this feeling so you can call it up when feeling capable is desired.

Third, look without attachment for evidence that your new story is materializing. In other words, release attachment but allow the evidence to reveal itself to you.

Finally, practice. The next time you are feeling needy, remember this is a golden opportunity to practice a new vibration. Practice makes perfect, so remember the new story and implement it. Call up the memories from the past, and remember the evidence all around you.

Got an experience with this? Share your story in the comments below…

 

 

Lizzie Velasquez Will Inspire You!

LizzyV_inspiration

Lizzie Velasquez is here to show us all that what the doctors and bullies or anyone else says or does will only affect you if you let it. To me, I can see the Law of Attraction all over Lizzie’s life story!

Born with a rare disease that only 2 other people on the planet are known to have, her body is unable to create fat. Before you get jealous, realize that Lizzie’s parents were told she’d never walk, feed herself, or live a normal life. Doctor’s told her parents, “don’t expect much”.

Lizzie’s parents treated her like a normal child, so that is how she saw herself. It was easy for her to prove the doctors wrong. Her internal dialog was that of kindness and self-love, and since our cells are ALWAYS LISTENING to our thoughts and feelings, it’s not surprising that she thrived.

When she was a teenager, Lizzie was bullied for her looks. Teens made a YouTube video calling her the “world’s ugliest woman” and suggesting she commit suicide. She could have gotten really angry and sunk into depression. Most people would have.

Instead, Lizzie set 4 audacious goals…and she’s meeting them! Watch this video and hear Lizzie and her family share her remarkable story…

The lessons I see in this story are…

1. Love yourself unconditionally for the unique being you are. Your body and mind hear and feel every thought and feeling. Be conscious about thinking and feeling lovingly toward yourself.

2. Where you are today isn’t the end of the story. Your body and mind changes when you decide to think and feel better. Every morning is the start of a new day, a new opportunity. If you didn’t think well of yourself or feel good yesterday, let it go. Start anew today…it’s the first day of the rest of your life.

3. Bless that fat on  your body! Admit it: Prior to reading this, you had thought of the fat on your body as an enemy. No matter how much you have, bless and appreciate your good health.

4. Let the haters talk amongst themselves. You’ve got better things to do with your life! Decide what really matters and go for it.

5. NO ONE has the power to decide how your life will be, except you. If Lizzie’s parents had listened to doctors, they would have planned for her early death. If Lizzie had listened to school mates, she might not be here. Lizzie is now a thriving college student, published author, and motivational speaker because she decided how she was going to live her life.

What conclusions have you drawn from this inspiring story?

You Are Always Creating

04.2010.creating

We are creative beings in a vibrational universe that responds to our moment-to-moment energetic pulse.

This means you are ALWAYS creating *new experiences*. You create based on what you believe is possible, and that is determined by how you FEEL about the stories you tell yourself and others, the way you speak to yourself, and the way you speak to others.

If you believe you have been abandoned, your life will reflect that.

Every time you criticize yourself or another, you create more experiences to criticize.

If you believe you are supported by the world and those around you, you will be. If you tell the story of how supported and loved you are, your world will reflect that back to you!

Every time you praise yourself or another, you create more experiences to praise.

While the vast majority of people on the planet are still creating unconsciously ~ reacting to the world around them ~ YOU can choose to be a conscious, deliberate Creator *right now*! Others are not unconsciously reacting and creating havoc because they want more things things to complain or worry or fear about, but because they have not decided to be *conscious about their life*.

You are always creating ~

why not create consciously?

One way to do this is to consciously tell yourself the stories that uplift and feel good to you. I created this sign (above) for my office a while back and realized that some of you might enjoy printing it out for yourself, too! Just right-click or double-click the graphic to save it.

If you download the sign, leave a little comment below…and if you have additional ways that you support yourself in being a deliberate creator, share that below, too!

January Co=Creation Cafe: Affirming a New You!

 

Co=Creation Cafe Special:
Affirming A New You!

2010 is here~and it’s NOT science fiction! How will you embrace and benefit from the the amazing energy of the New Year?

Whether you are one who doesn’t know about or understand affirmations, or you’ve tried them briefly in the past only to feel they didn’t work for you, this call will demystify affirmations and show you how to harness their full power for your benefit this year!

Nancy Barry-Jansson is an AffirmingSpirit Teacher/Mentor who has been working with affirmations since the mid-1980s. Having experienced great results for herself, she began casually teaching others who were inspired and uplifted by the experience. In 2000, she conceived of AffirmingSpirit Blank Affirmation Cards, and in 2003 she launched the product and website. Nancy created and ran the 2008 AffirmingSpirit Affirmation Study with participants across the United States to gather information about why affirmations work for some, but not for others. A year later, in 2009, she extended her offerings to small business owners with Quantum MasterMind for Solopreneurs.

Listen…

to this call online, or download the MP3 for on-the-go listening at
AffirmngSpirit.com <<< click this link

After listening to the call, return to this page to submit your comments or questions by clicking the comments link below.

Links mentioned in the call:

AffirmingSpirit Blank Affirmation Cards

HearthMath Institute

Global Coherence Initiative

************************************************************
THE SPECIAL OFFER FOR CO=CREATION CAFE LISTENERS
HAS EXPIRED. Thank you to everyone who took advantage of
the free offer and participated in the drawing!
************************************************************

 

Your Co=Creation Cafe Host,

Nancy Barry-Jansson

AffirmingSpirit.com

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