How you can use positive affirmations to make deep and lasting changes in your life over time
As an add-on to your daily meditation or journaling practice, you can create daily positive affirmations. These may be short sayings you have come across elsewhere that resonate with you, or they may be rewritings of your own very personal fears and limiting stories.
I used to think (or fear) that habitual behaviours or ways of showing up were permanent. That I could not change. That it was somehow genetic. I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. You can change. People change in all kinds of ways all the time. You can surpass limitations of circumstance, upbringing, and mindset.
What you tell yourself, what (and who) you surround yourself with, and what you pay attention to is what forms your reality. If you tell yourself something over and over, it will become your reality. This can result in a lot of negative things, but it can also be a really powerful tool if you use it consciously to add more good into your life.
If you tell yourself something over and over, it will become your reality. This can be a really powerful tool if you use it consciously to add more good into your life.
What is an affirmation?
I consider an affirmation to be a short positive statement that reaffirms something or that empowers and strengthens you. It is phrased in a way that states something to be true – rather than as something that is merely hoped or wished for. A positive affirmations says, “this is how it is”.
As for where a positive affirmation comes from… I have used some affirmations that I’ve found in books or gotten from mentors, but mostly, I get my affirmations from my own doubts and fears.
Affirmations can help you to become a positive person in control of your life. They can help you to change a habit or behaviour or to develop a new one. For example, you might write “I am the type of person who ____” “I believe I am capable of ____” “I am ____”.
Tell yourself your affirmations repeatedly until you begin to believe them to be true. You might write them in your journal and read them regularly, or put them up in your workspace, or you may just say them to yourself in your mind. In any case, a key part is to repeat them often and to really tune in to them as best as you can. Pause for even a few seconds and really feel their positive power and the strength they bring.
Whenever an area comes to light that I am struggling with – for example, limiting beliefs around money or my abilities as an artist – I will take a little bit of extra time in my daily journaling to work through these. I will look at the fears and negative things that come to mind, and then I will systematically rewrite each one as a positive statement. Once I have aired all the negative junk, I will spend some time each day writing some positive and empowering beliefs. I will continue to do this until I feel that I’ve absorbed the new story.
You may wish to write out a key affirmation or two and put them in your vision board, by the bathroom mirror, by your desk, in your journal/sketchbook, or wherever you can see them often.
One of my absolute favourite tools is daily journaling. It’s also the perfect place for you to begin your positive affirmations.
You can change. You can surpass limitations of circumstance, upbringing, and mindset to make deep-rooted changes that last.
Bringing about deep change
It takes time, patience, and perseverance, but you can make deep-rooted changes that last. I have undone tendencies where I felt like a victim in my own life, had a default negative response, was constantly stressed and tense, and struggled with perfectionism.
Through affirmations and other tools I have shared on the blog, I have shifted to feeling empowered and in charge of my life, being generally an optimistic and positive person whose default reaction is one of hope and possibility. I have changed default behaviours deliberately to allow myself to be kinder and see the best in others (and myself), and have managed my Inner Critics and largely overcome perfectionism to enable me to create a lot of work on a regular basis.
Go gently, be brave, be kind, be patient
Changes like these take a long time. You are often undoing years of training. It is like you have an internal operating system and you are reprogramming it. You are rewriting your stories, beliefs, and behaviours one at a time. It’s not easy, but I hope you will choose to do it anyway – I truly believe it will be worth it.
Learn more about using affirmations – I talk more about how to use affirmations to overcome your inner critics in my free guide: Moving Above and Beyond Your Inner Critics & Finding Your Guiding Energy (free PDF).
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