Over the past three weeks we have looked at what affirmations are, how and why they work, and what they can’t do.
We have explored the power they have to help people overcome mental obstacles that prevent them from freely living their lives.
Hopefully, at this point you see their power and their possibility in your own life.
So how do we move from knowing they work to identifying the right areas to work on and applying affirmations in our own lives?
These five steps are designed to help you independently choose areas for improvement, and write affirmations designed to help you get out of your own way.
Review areas where your self-talk gets in your way
If you’re exploring affirmations, it is likely that you already understand some of this. You know your self-talk interferes with your success. Do you belittle your appearance? Are you so critical that you can’t tear yourself away from the make-up mirror? Do you find yourself saying the same hurtful things to your children that your parents said to you?
Writing a list of our self-talk is where we start.
Each of those self-imposed obstacles hints at a deeper lie that we tell ourselves. This lie prevents us from interacting with the world.
Identify what the deep-seated belief is that causes these problems. It might be one of these:
- I am unworthy of love
- My value comes from my appearance
- If I make a mistake people will think less of me
- I am clumsy and uncoordinated
- What I have to say is not worth hearing
Once you think you have a good idea what your obstacle is (in this instance), you are ready for step two.
Write a strong positive statement
Identify the one area where you would like to work. For the purpose of this example, I will choose “If I make a mistake, people will think less of me.” This echoes the self-talk of Sara, who we have discussed in previous articles. In her case, she came to believe that she was “exceedingly shy” and she was afraid to interact with others.
For this affirmation, we could simply state the truth about interactions between people: “If I misspeak or make a mistake in conversation, that’s okay. It happens all the time. I will simply correct it, and the conversation can continue.”
Or perhaps your internal conversation is deeply critical. “I am unworthy of love.”
In this case, you might choose simply to strongly state the opposite. “I am worthy of unconditional love, and many people love me for who I am.”
Identify three times a day (at least) to repeat it
Now that you have an affirmation that will help you better navigate the world, the work is not over, but it is well started!
You must schedule time in your day to start re-writing your script. Find a quiet time and place to simply repeat the phrase three times or more. It is preferable if you say it out loud, but not mandatory.
Remember, the goal is to establish a new script to replace the old, so practice is the only way to rewire your brain.
If you are about to have an interaction that might trigger your fear, add an additional round of affirmations just before you leave the house, take the stage, or step into the space that triggers you.
This is your pep talk!
Add a physical component to your affirmation
To help rewire your brain, adding a physical component to your affirmation can be a powerful tool. Perhaps you breathe in thinking the first half of the phrase, and breathe out for the second.
(breathing in) I am worthy of unconditional love.
(breathing out) Many people love me for who I am.
Or you might develop a hand gesture that you can do discreetly that reminds you of your affirmation. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, it’s not for them. It’s for you alone.
(Crosses fingers) If I misspeak or make a mistake in conversation,
(Makes “ok’ sign) that’s okay. It happens all the time.
(Makes fist to indicate strength) I will simply correct it,
(Lays hand out smooth) The conversation can continue.
Enlist a trusted partner
Some of us need to hear our affirmations from someone else to believe them, at least at first. That’s okay, and to be expected. We picked up our bad scripts from other people too. Humans are social, and we value each others’ opinions.
Identify someone close to you who is likely to be helpful in this sort of situation.
Next, tell them plainly, “I need your help. I get really nervous before these speeches, and I need you to remind me that I am good at this.”
Then hand them a slip of paper with your affirmation on it. “Just tell me this before I go on.”
By following these five steps, you are well on your way to helping yourself work past obstacles that are standing in your way.
There will be other obstacles, for sure, but they won’t come from inside you!
Do you have scripts in your subconscious that you struggle to overcome or even to identify? Might an affirmation, or a deep dive into the causes of the obstacle, help you? Maybe Sakina Issa can help. Click the red button on this page to schedule a time to talk with no obligation to see if she might be able to help you move forward.