“It’s repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen – Muhammad Ali”
The practice of affirmations – positively worded statements about your life repeated to yourself verbally or mentally or written down – has been given a lot of credence in recent years and appears in various forms of therapy. For example; cognitive psychology, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, creative visualization and some forms of meditation.
From the perspective of transforming our experience through affirmations, one of the most important things to realize is that each thought that we think and word that we say is an affirmation, positive or negative, that re-enforces a belief that we have about our experience and reality. So, from this point of view, the most important aspect of mastering affirmations is being more aware of everything that you think and say, and being as careful as possible to energize only those thoughts and beliefs within you that are helpful and beneficial.
For example if I have injured my body in some way, and mentally I start to complain to myself about how unjust it is that I am injured and how the Universe always seems to be against me, then those thoughts are affirming a negative perspective on the situation. As a result, if I don’t check my thoughts and make appropriate adjustments, then my experience of that injury is going to be a negative one.
If on the other hand I notice that my mind has started complaining, and I ask myself “Is this way of thinking really serving me and helping me to have the best experience of the circumstances?” My answer will most probably be “no!” If I then make the effort to find a new perspective and way of thinking about my situation, then it will become an affirmation that I can use to directly change my experience. For example if I have an injury I may choose to see the situation as a chance to rest my body and allow it to recharge its energies.
Mindfulness of our thoughts is a big part of daily meditation practice. As meditators we understand that each thought is affirming something positive or negative about our experience, and our job is to focus on and energize the thoughts and beliefs that are most helpful, benevolent, and evolutionary to ourself and the other people involved in the situation.
Asking Yourself Three Questions – A Practical Exercise For Turning Your Thoughts Into Positive Affirmations
Step 1: Select a particular life situation to work on that is happening to you at this time, and where you sense that your mind is affirming negative beliefs and thoughts that are hindering your ability to deal with the situation.
If you can it is good to do this exercise in a notebook where you can actually write down your questions and answers as the written word is a more powerful affirmation than an affirmation that is simply thought or verbalized. BUT it is still worth doing as a mental exercise if you really don’t have a pen and paper available!
Step 2: Ask yourself three questions. Write down each question and your reply to it in turn:
- What are the negative thoughts and affirmations that I am holding with regard to this situation?
- What are the thoughts and affirmations that I can hold in this situation that will enable me to gain a better experience, and that will enable me to respond in the most creative and life-affirming way?
- What is the kindest and most compassionate (to both myself and the others involved in the situation) mental approach and perspective that I can affirm in this situation?
Step 3: Practice affirming your answers to these three questions.
- Your answer to the first question shows you what thoughts and beliefs you want to avoid affirming and energizing.
- Your answers to the second and third question are the thoughts, perspectives and beliefs that you need to affirm. Whenever you think about your life situation, immediately bring your mind back to your answers to these three questions and affirm accordingly!
© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com