“The easiest way to change and improve the quality of your life is to change or improve your perception of yourself.”
Positive affirmations are used in the coaching and self-help world to help individuals create new, positive thought processes about themselves and their lives. The intention is to build confidence and self-worth. Seems admirable; however, we all know that this can serve as a daunting task for many of us.
Here are three significant truths about positive affirmations that you need to know.
Important Truths about Positive Affirmations
Truth #1: We Have Velcro In Our Brains.
If you tend to lean towards anxiety, fear and pessimism about your life and the world, you are not alone.
Humans have evolved to fundamentally focus on what can go wrong around us, seeking potential threats to our very existence. Rick Hanson puts it perfectly in his book, Hardwiring Happiness, by equating our tendency towards pessimism as having:
“Velcro for the bad and Teflon for the good.”
This Velcro wiring that we have goes back 1,000’s of years when we lived with less protection and more threat. Our fight or flight mechanisms wanted us to look for threat first to be safe, then to assume the worst possible scenario. i.e. Is that the wind blowing the grass? Can it be just a mouse or maybe it’s a tiger? Your brain is wired for you to assume it’s a tiger and run up that tree, just in case.
Today, that wiring remains with us. It has us assuming things will go wrong while wearing down our optimism and building anxiety and fear.
Truth #2: You Can Rewire Your Thinking.
One of the amazing miracles about us is the beautiful ability our body has to renew itself. We see it everyday in our finger nails, hair, and skin. We can even build our muscles to be stronger!
One place where we don’t often notice or even acknowledge this ability is within our brains. Your brain is a muscle that develops and also changes. The neuroplasticity of our brains allows us to learn new skills and change old habits at any age.
Let’s look at it like a river. The river has flowed in one direction for centuries and you want to change its direction. You build up sandbags, rocks and whatever else you can to force it to flow in a new direction. It takes work and tenacity; the sandbags may fall away and you will have to repair the wall every once and a while.
Here is the big question: when will you be able to remove the rocks? When will the river naturally flow in the new direction?
The river will flow down its new pathway when the grooves in the rocks on the new side are deeper than the old path. Until then, it will be work that may take a while depending on how deep that old groove is.
Our brain is somewhat the same. In order to create new neuro pathways, we need to work on focusing our thoughts on a new skill and remind ourselves to do so regularly. We will also fall into our old patterns from time to time. The good news is, that if we stick to it, we will learn to naturally go down that new path.
Truth #3: Positive Affirmations Only Work If They Are True.
When we look at repeating positive affirmations, what we are doing is helping move our thought patterns in a different direction. We are essentially trying to develop VELCRO for the good and TEFLON for the bad. Makes sense. However, there is an important reality about positive affirmations that can be overlooked.
When you write out or vocalize a positive affirmation, you want to ensure that you FEEL it to be TRUE.
For example: Being overweight and standing in front of a mirror reciting that you are already at your goal weight, when you are not. Is it possible that when you recite this affirmation that you may feel some doubt? Is what you are affirming true?
No! This will surely ignite at least some DOUBT. Doubt is a negative energy that can hold us back from manifesting and creating the goals/dreams we have in life. It will keep that river stuck in that old groove no matter what we throw at it. Would it make sense to say that we want to aim to feel confident about our affirmations? That we want them to feel true?
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”- Muhammad Ali
Here are other general affirmations that are common. Take a moment and read these to yourself. Notice how they FEEL to you. Make a check mark next to the ones that feel completely, undeniably TRUE!
- All my family relationships are harmonious.
- I love my body.
- I am financially wealthy.
- I have perfect health.
- My career/business is excelling.
- I have the ideal life mate.
My guess is that not all of these feel true to you. If they do, then STOP reading and get out there and celebrate!
If they don’t feel true and you want to change them, read on. There is a way to create positive affirmations that have NO DOUBT within them, positive affirmations that feel TRUE.
DOUBT is the biggest obstacle in attaining any goals or change we desire in our lives.
The trick here is to go from stating our affirmations in the CURRENT TENSE to being IN PROCESS. When you say, “I’m in the process of…” the sentence becomes true. True feels good, which removes doubt and develops the confidence you need to continue towards your goals.
Let’s revisit those statements, starting each sentence with “I’m in the process of…”
Do these statements now feel more truthful? Do they feel good? Being “In Process” makes affirmations feel true by removing DOUBT!
Make your affirmations POSITIVE and BELIEVABLE and things will begin to happen!