You’ve heard me say it before, “Thoughts are things. Words have power.” I really, really believe that. By those thoughts and words, we create our beliefs and our beliefs create our reality. Want to change the reality you’re currently living in? Change your thoughts, words, and ultimately your beliefs and watch the magick of transformation take place in the reality around you!
Affirmations are just one way to begin that process of changing your belief system. To quote Richard Gerber, M.D., in his book A Practical Guide to Vibrational Medicine:
“By repeating affirmations that cancel out old, faulty beliefs and replacing them with more appropriate ways of perceiving your life, a significant shift in both consciousness and health is possible. And by shifting your consciousness into healthier emotional and mental patterns; your emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies become restructured and realigned, which in turn helps to restructure and repair your physical body.”
I’ve been a believer in the use of affirmations for decades but always felt puzzled by the fact that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. When I ran across Richard Gerber and what he wrote about affirmations, I discovered that, in order to give them the best chance of working successfully, you need to repeat them a minimum of twenty times per day, every day. This repetition literally creates new thoughtforms in one’s energy field that magnetically attracts the object the affirmation was created for.
He also suggests that , in the beginning at least, it is best to write out the affirmation and carry it with you so that you can use it as a script to read out loud. He also suggests that, because the subconscious mind works on a fairly primitive level, incorporating rhymes and rhythms into the affirmation will help reinforce it. He continues by offering two additional aids for effectiveness: 1) being very specific about what you are trying to achieve and, 2) creating a mental image of what the desired outcome of the affirmation would look like.
After all these wonderfully helpful suggestions for success through the use of affirmations, how could one possibly fail? Well, it does happen…often. One is then left to ask, “Why?”
I talked previously, in regards to using the Basic Recipe, about the four basic reasons it might not work as it should: unresolved aspects of the problem, psychological reversals, scrambled energies, and energy toxins. Affirmations are susceptible to similar impediments to their success. If there is a contradiction between your self-image/core beliefs and the intended change, then it is likely that the self-image/core belief will override your conscious desire for change. Until your self-image/core belief is transformed, you’ll keep hitting a road block that allows you to go no further.
It is interesting that positive affirmations and visualizations often prove to be unproductive and discouraging because they’re inadvertently aimed at the wrong “target”. What you actually end up “affirming” isn’t what you are stating. Let me put it another way – if the affirmation/visualization that you have chosen to use runs counter to a core belief, your psyche will simply attach that core belief to the tail end of the stated affirmation. For example, you consciously state, “I am an excellent tennis player.” Unconsciously, you might add, “but I’m too uncoordinated to ever play well.”
I think I may have mentioned this before, they’re called “tail-enders” and are subtle and outside your conscious awareness. They do have a very powerful effect. We rarely recognize what’s happening because of the amount of thoughts we process and the speed at which they pass through our minds. The point really is that tail-enders often involve a limiting self-image that tells you why your desire isn’t possible or why you’re incapable of achieving it. Much like a psychological reversal, they can also involve unacknowledged or unwanted consequences of reaching your goal. No matter which way you slice it, the list of possible tail-enders is limitless, but the outcome is always the same. You think you are aiming at your goal with this wonderful affirmation and all you’re really doing is reaffirming the reasons why the goal can’t or shouldn’t be reached!
Here’s a little “assignment” you can try to see what, if any, tail-enders might be preventing your desired goal from being reached:
Think of a goal that you’ve had for a long time but haven’t reached yet. Bring it to the front of your awareness and put it into words. Write it down. Then take each of the following phrases and describe what comes to you, if anything, as you complete each phrase –
1. The thing that makes it impossible for me to reach this goal is…
2. The thing about my past that makes it impossible to reach this goal is…
3. If there were an emotional reason for my not reaching this goal, it would be…
4. If I did reach this goal, the consequences would be…
5. In order for me to reach this goal, I would have to…
6. What I really want, rather than just this goal, is…
7. Thinking about this goal reminds me of…
8. I would be more willing to reach this goal if first…
These statements, and how you finish them, will help reveal any hidden tail-enders. What may become clear is a chain of events, beliefs, and attitudes that are keeping your goal from becoming a reality. If this goal is important to you, you can use the tapping protocol I’ve mentioned in my previous articles to remove the emotional charge on each tail-ender that you’ve revealed. There’s more though…
As I stated earlier, the amount of thoughts and the speed at which they pass through our mind – our internal talk – is so quick and automatic that we don’t even notice it. Such is the case with situations that cause an emotional response from us. We think it’s the situation that caused our feelings, but, in truth, its how we interpret what we are experiencing that has created our response.
Let me quote some interesting facts found in The Promise of Energy Psychology by David Feinstein:
“*Emotional reactions usually occur without our noticing what we said to ourselves just before we reacted.
*We usually can see the connection between our self-talk and our feelings only after we take a step back and examine what we’ve been telling ourselves.
*Self-talk is often in shorthand, where a word or image contains a whole series of thoughts, memories, and associations; so identifying our self-talk may require unraveling several distinct thoughts from a single word or image.
*Even irrational self-talk tends to sound like the truth – it reflects beliefs we are scarcely aware of – so habitual irrational self-talk tends to go unchallenged and unquestioned.
*Negative self-talk is a series of bad habits. We aren’t born with a predisposition for it; we learn to think that way.
*Just as you can replace unhealthy behavior habits with healthy ones, you can replace unhealthy thinking with more positive, supportive mental habits.”
Negative self-talk is worse, in my opinion, than any negative criticism that you could receive from the outside world. In fact, since we know we weren’t born with this negative internal dialogue, it becomes obvious that we have internalized the messages we have received from external messengers because we decided to believe that what they were saying was more correct than our own beliefs about ourselves.
The four most common personas of this negative self-talk are:
The worrier, the critic, the victim, and the perfectionist. They deliver to us, on a daily basis, statements containing negative messages such as:
* “what if”, which blows out of proportion the likelihood of something negative happening,
* “catastrophe!”, once again, blowing out of proportion the consequences if something negative would occur, and
* “pessimistic self-appraisal”, which underestimates your ability to cope with whatever might happen.
Creating positive statements to counter these possible statements of negative self-talk is really important.
I wish tail-enders, with their accompanying self-talk, were the only reason that affirmations failed. If you want your affirmation to be really effective, its focus must touch you deeply and be a force that evokes passion within you. Your goal must be one that achieves the balance of being achievable within your core beliefs and yet stretch you to another level of achievement. This is what creates excitement. Failure could be eminent if your affirmation:
1. Reflects what you think you should want rather than what you really want,
2. Calls for too large a step or for changes that are too far beyond what you believe is possible, or
3. Is just a mindless repetition or whose wording doesn’t create enthusiasm within you.
As I close this entry (and I do apologize for its lengthiness), I offer you ten guideline for constructing an effective affirmation:
1. Affirm a want, not should.
2. Affirm your wants rather than your don’t wants.
3. Affirm a goal you believe is realistically possible to attain, or adjust the wording so it is within the range of what you believe is realistic.
4. At the same time, affirm a goal that is a “stretch,” a goal that is large enough to be exciting.
5. State your affirmation in the first person, present tense.
6. Keep your affirmation short, simple and direct.
7. Couple your statement with a vivid mental image of the goal already having been attained.
8. From time to time, adjust your affirmation to keep it from becoming boring or aim at different aspects of your goal.
9. Keep your focus on what you can do rather than what you hope others will do.
10. Keep your affirmations private. (To quote an old Wiccan adage, “Power shared is power lost.”)
Add to this a minimum of twenty repetitions a day and you could be changing your life to what you’ve always dreamed of!