How To Write Effective Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are new beliefs that you want to imprint into your brain consciously and subconsciously. Your beliefs are merely a consolidation of old stories about how your world worked that are represented in a single basic thought. Therefore, the reverse is also true:
Affirmations are not just new beliefs.
They are new stories about how you want the world to work.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Read it a few times and really reflect upon what that means… because if you really grasp that concept, then you’ll realize that the real power of affirmations is not what they say, but rather, how they make you feel about your future. Those emotions that your affirmations create each contain an actual story about what that emotion means to you.
For example, if you want to have more abundance in your life then a little bit of introspection will reveal that it’s not really about the money. What you’re really interested in is what the money means to you. More money might enable you to live in a bigger house or someplace with better weather, go on vacations, or perhaps support your children in attending private schools so that they can be enabled with the life skills to choose their future. Maybe the reason you want more money is to afford enough gas to see your loved ones more regularly if you live far away.
Those are just a few reasons why somebody might want more money, and there’s as many more reasons as there are people in the world. Yours are very personal, and underneath every single reason you have for wanting more money is a story about what that money means to you emotionally. Affirmations are just a short-hand version of those emotional stories you want to have in the future.
Affirmations create the groundwork for whether or not your life story becomes increasingly more joyful, abundant, and full of amazing characters… or whether it becomes the opposite.
Though we won’t dive super deep into how to write affirmations (that’s worthy of a comprehensive eBook), we will explore the nature of affirmations and how to construct and use them for maximum effect. I’ll also link you to 18 pre-made affirmations that you can start using right now to support your mind, body, spirit, and emotional wellness.
Affirmations “Do’s & Don’ts”
The most important thing to remember is to affirm what you want, and avoid affirming what you don’t want.
For example, if you want to lose weight it would be ineffective to affirm, “I don’t eat sugary or fatty foods.” The reason this affirmation won’t work, and will actually program your brain for the opposite, is twofold:
- “Don’t eat” is about avoiding what you don’t want, and
is not affirming what you do want.
- You’re affirming “sugary” and “fatty” into your subconscious.
Generally speaking, your subconscious mind doesn’t actually pick up on negative words like “don’t” “can’t” “won’t” or “will not.”
Those words are basically non-existent to your subconscious mind unless they are imbued with significant emotional energy. And do you really want to be putting a lot of emotional energy focusing into words that are, generally speaking, negative? I sure don’t.
So what happens to the above affirmation?
Your brain interprets it as “Eat sugary or fatty foods” which is the exact opposite of what you were trying to accomplish! You also wouldn’t want to affirm “I lose weight effortlessly” for a different and less obvious reason: This affirms the word weight. Our unconscious brains also generally don’t like to “lose” things. Car keys, people, jobs? I think you get the picture.
Since your subconscious already has a negative association with weight (that you want to get rid of it), again, it just hears “weight effortlessly.”
I’ve made these mistakes many times because they’re very easy to make. In fact, I recommend that you revisit all your affirmations at least once a month to determine if they are still representative of what you want. For example, here’s an affirmation I personally had been using for nearly a year:
“I embrace change willingly and gratefully.”
Given that life is a neverending experience of change, that affirmation was very supportive to the person who told me about it. It helped him handle some significant life transitions. In 2009 he divorced, was voluntarily laid off, started eating vegetarian, began a new online business, and foreclosed on his home. Then in the 2nd half of 2010, he moved across the country multiple times and lived in four entirely different states. He’s moved a few more times since then.
When his friend reviewed the entire set of affirmations, that was the only one she quoted and she asked, “Do you see what you might be creating?”
My friend literally almost laughed out loud when he looked at the affirmation and compared it against his recent experiences. While the affirmation was very effectively support him in embracing the massive changes in his life, he was affirming ‘change!’
Once he recognized his mistake, he made one minor change to the affirmation to make it rock solid:
“I embrace all experiences willingly and gratefully.”
As you can see, writing affirmations in the positive can take some creativity and definitely practice. Sometimes it’s easier just to grab a few pre-made ones like these 18 Healing Affirmations for Spiritual Growth.